…and when the Democrats do the heavy lifting and pass a budget compromise all by themselves, the next time the Republicans gain power they blow it up via lot of tax cuts for the rich.
That has been the basic logic of the U.S. Congress since I turned 30. That will continue to be the basic logic until the Republican Party as we know it vanishes from the page of time. People who want to see a budget compromise need to deal with that--and work to elect more Democrats and diselect today's group of Republicans.
Sorry, but that's the way it is.
Wake up to reality. Smell the coffee:
Wonkbook: House reaches bipartisan deal to reject Simpson-Bowles: Peter Wallsten, Lori Montgomery and Scott Wilson… Matt Bai… share a similar premise: That with the right leadership from Boehner and Obama, there would have been sufficient votes for a big deal….
On Wednesday, Reps. Jim Cooper and Steve LaTourette managed to put Simpson-Bowles to a vote…. It didn't just fail. It got crushed…. This was, of course, what the White House always complained would happen if they had listened to the pundits and brought Simpson-Bowles to a vote. Republicans would reject it because it included $2 trillion in new taxes and $800 billion in defense cuts. Democrats would reject it because they weren't going to vote for a doomed proposal that included deep Medicare and Social Security cuts in addition to a large tax increase just to show how much they cared about deficits…. Wednesday's vote… is at least suggestive evidence that the White House was right….
Now think back to August. Consider all the forces pushing towards a big deal: The media, which loves bipartisan deficit-reduction packages. The Speaker of the House of Representatives. The President of the United States. The business community. Washington's deficit-reduction community. And still, the underlying reality of the tumultuous negotiations was that the two sides couldn't line up the votes for anything even approaching a reasonable package. That's why the negotiations were so tumultuous.
This was truer on Boehner's side than Obama's, of course. As Bai writes[:]
What’s undeniable, despite all the furious efforts to peddle a different story, is that Obama managed to persuade his closest allies to sign off on what he wanted them to do, and Boehner didn’t, or couldn’t. While Democratic leaders were willing to swallow either a deal with more revenue or a deal with less, Boehner’s theoretical counteroffer, which probably reflected what he would have done if empowered to act alone, never even got a hearing from his leadership team.
I wonder if Democrats would have been so accomodating if Obama had actually released the full details on what he was negotiating with Boehner. Once they got an actual look at what they were giving away, and what they were getting in return, they might have balked. But the bottom line is the votes, particularly on the Republican side of the aisle, just weren't there for a major compromise. And, as Wednesday’s vote on Simpson-Bowles showed, they're still not there. They're only there for a not-compromise. Preferably a hardcore not-compromise.
Ezra is largely right. Worth reading.
But I cannot help note that the Washington Post opinions-of-shape-of-earth-differ virus is infecting more and more of his brain. When you say "Republicans blocked the deal, but Democrats also behaved badly and in a non-bipartisan fashion because if things had happened differently they might have changed their minds and in the end not accepted a deal that was 95% of the way to the Republican position", something is wrong…