David Dayen has a logical take on what Dems can do here:
- preempt Speaker Boehner plan of continuing this gridlock till next Nov 2012(because of his two step proposal); and
- put a plan of all expense cuts only so that ‘this crazy fight about taxes and entitlements’ is solved via elections in 2012.
Well done Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid, if this is the script. Job for President Obama then will be to hold tight and veto the wrong proposal of GOP House to continue this drama till Nov 2012. American People want this to be finished and would be interested not to have this fracas again. Elections are there to clear out this mess.
Senate GOP and some in House GOP will strongly oppose to ‘wind down wars in distant places’ to save money. But national security is the business of White House only, President can help Speaker Boehner to understand the Constitution there and the guy who has nabbed OBL, would be knowing better how to do it. With Public Opinion across the board against continued wars of Afghanistan and even lingering Iraq war, it will be interesting to see how Tea Party Members of House are going to attack Reid-Pelosi proposal of counting saving off those disengagements.
True, issue of reforming longer term entitlement costs and revenue increase is postponed. This also means failing the rating agency requirement of putting at least $4Trillion package. But when those are not possible for political intransigence of GOP, this is a least worst option. House GOP wants Congressional Commission - let them have it for future so long as the current number of $2.5Trillion is covered. If GOP refuses to do anything - fine; Bush Tax Cuts would expire automatically bringing in $4Trillions to Federal coffers. Then whosoever wins the elections of 2012 would decide what to do with that money - to enact tax reforms coupled with entitlement reforms or whatever.
Going forward the key will be for Pelosi, Reid and Obama to march in ‘absolute lock steps’. So long as that is done, including if needed to pull off the plan of cutting Federal checks come deadline; House GOP stupidity can be circumvented and bypassed. Hopefully, ‘come home again / born again Progressive President’ would have had enough of his sojourn in the land of ‘triangulation’. One just wishes President Obama does not mess around this time what these old progressive war horses - Pelosi & Reid - have brought. There is no need for President Obama to re-learn the lesson of - to what an extent GOP can go to totally rip off Obama Presidency. The political war so far has left Obama Presidency literally in shambles. Here is an opportunity to collect those pieces and build something ‘difference making’ for American People. The allure of ‘bipartisanship fetish’ should die now and should get its decent burial in Obama White House.
Beyond this if Speaker Boehner wants to make a grand deal, Obama White House should conduct that business in much more open and public manner - declare before hand that for every 3 dollar savings, 1 dollar revenue increase must be there and both saving & revenue increases must move at the same pace with ‘trust but verify’ mechanism applied at every step. As Obama admitted some time back, the reason Public is sore on him is while saying he wanted to break Washington Culture, he resorted to same ‘back room’ negotiations with the false hope of clinching a deal. May be you could do that (again at very price though) when you had Democratic Majority during ObamaCare bill; but not when emboldened GOP is occupying House and behaving in clear ‘parliamentary opposition party mode’. So keep it open if Speaker wants to bring back any ‘grand bargain’ offer and tend to your flock which brought to you in White House in the first place.