Friday, April 05, 2013

Obama drops his pants before GOP again

I am so sick of this shit.

President Obama will release a budget next week that proposes significant cuts to Medicare and Social Security and fewer tax hikes than in the past, a conciliatory approach that he hopes will convince Republicans to sign onto a grand bargain that would curb government borrowing and replace deep spending cuts that took effect March 1.

When he unveils the budget on Wednesday, Obama will break with the tradition of providing a sweeping vision of his ideal spending priorities, untethered from political realities. Instead, the document will incorporate the compromise offer Obama made to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) last December in the discussions over the so-called “fiscal cliff” – which included $1.8 trillion in deficit reduction through spending cuts and tax increases.

Now it's up to the Republicans in Congress to save us by saying 'no'.

While Republicans are certain to be skeptical of Obama’s call for more taxes, the president also is likely to face immediate heat over his budget proposal from some Democrats and liberal supporters. Obama proposes, for instance, to change the cost-of-living calculation for Social Security in a way that will reduce benefits for most beneficiaries, a key Republican request that he had earlier embraced only as part of a compromise. Many Democrats say they are opposed to any Social Security cuts and are likely to be furious that such cuts are now being proposed as official administration policy.

Obama isn't playing 3-D chess here with the Enterprise crew Congress members wearing red shirts. If they call his bluff, everybody that voted for him five months ago -- and some of us who did not -- are well and truly fucked.

Neither the president nor senior aides privately hold much hope that Republican leaders — Mr. Boehner and Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Senate Republican leader — will compromise. So Mr. Obama’s strategy of reaching out to other Senate Republicans reflects a calculation that enough of them might cut a budget deal with the Democratic Senate majority. If that happens, the reasoning goes, a Senate-passed compromise would put pressure on the House to go along. 

That account suggests nothing significant is likely to happen, and places faith in the president's ability to outmaneuver the dim-witted conservatives by getting them to swallow a poison pill. I don't have that much faith in the president's ability, needless to say.

To me it seems as dangerous as flying planes over South Korea in order to help the North Koreans thoughtfully arrive at a decision to tone down their hysteria. What happens if the bad guys don't get the message? What if there are enough Republicans who decide to take the Faustian bargain of tax increases for social program cuts? Is Obama's Plan B to renege on the offer?

The president is too persistent in applying cosmetics to the swine.

I'm sick and tired of being sold down the river by Democrats trying to reason with Republicans. The pigs are annoyed with your effort, Mr. President, and so are a wide swath of your fellow travelers. Cut. it. out.


Now that Obama has fully embraced the cuts, no amount of White House spin is going to be able to permanently pin the chained CPI on Republicans, as the administration official is trying to do. Republicans have been demanding for months that Obama specifically spell out the cuts to social insurance programs he would accept; now he's done so, they will make sure he owns them.

The White House seems to believe that this will show the American public that he is Very Serious about both deficit reduction and working with Republicans, that "he is willing to compromise and do tough things to reduce the deficit,” in the words of a senior administration official. Because of course a willingness to compromise is all that it takes to make the Republicans come around. That and his charm offensive.

Republicans aren't going to come around, and now have a weapon. And what the American people will probably remember is that in 2008 candidate Obama promised that as president, he would not cut Social Security, a promise reiterated by Vice President Biden in 2012. In fact, we're probably not going to be allowed to forget that, once the Republicans get their ads running in congressional districts around the country saying that Barack Obama broke his promise and wants to cut your Social Security.

Update II: Boehner rejects president's proposal. Moneyshot...

A senior Senate GOP aide said Republicans are translating the White House budget proposal as a signal to Senate Democrats that they must accept benefit cuts.

“The fact that chained CPI is in there, Republicans will take that as a signal that the White House is willing to use chained CPI as an offset,” the aide said. “It seems to me that the White House is sort of telling Senate Democrats to get used to it.”

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