by Paul Goldman
As they say, it’s never over until it’s over. However, let’s look at where things stand right now, given the apparent decision of Congressional Democratic leaders to embrace the McConnell-Reid plan:
1. Eric Cantor gets the House Republicans to pass their no-tax increase, $2.4 trillion in cuts, balanced budget amendment “plan.” The President/Democrats will naturally say this is totally irresponsible, because it cuts into the safety net and bone of America, and no responsible Democrat could ever support it since it doesn’t have “balance,” doesn’t even make billionaires pay more, Yada Yada Yada.
2. To prove their point, Democrats in the Senate will then pass the McConnell-Reid plan, which requires the President to propose $2.5 trillion in cuts in three different installments right during an election season. It rejects having even billionaires pay more. It allows Republicans to vote NO on raising the debt ceiling right in the middle of an election year, but requires Democrats to vote YES. It allows Republicans to vote NO on certain cuts without ever making any positive suggestions.
3. Oh, by the way, Step #2 requires the President, by his own words, to propose cuts even more draconian than the Ryan budget, which the Democrats have been calling the most irresponsible budget proposal ever (and used the issue to win a GOP seat in a recent special election). It then allows the GOP to accuse Democrats of gutting Medicare, etc and vote NO.
SO LET ME SEE IF I GET THE CHESS GAME HERE:
Cantor is vilified by the media and Democrats for…what exactly? There is no default, his proposed cuts are actually less than Democrats will have agreed to make, he gets to vote for a Balanced Budget Amendment which Democrats will oppose (gee, I wonder why Joe Biden voted for a BBA when he had to seek re-election to the Senate?), and Mr. Cantor will have allowed his Tea Party posse to vote NO on raising the debt ceiling AND get the President to take them off the hook.
OH, DID I MENTION that it’s going to be difficult to accuse Republicans for being irresponsible for wanting the same cuts Democrats are now going to endorse, at least in the aggregate.
Did I leave anything out?
So please tell me why liberals, progressives, whatever you call yourselves, think Eric Cantor is anything but….one good negotiator.
And what exactly do all his liberal/progressive Democratic base detractors get out of this after all their screaming?
I am writing a column on that issue right now. The trouble is the OpEd needs to be 800 words, says the editor.
My draft started this way: NOTHING. As in nada, zip, zero, no thang, your mamma.
Anybody got some suggestions for the remaining 790 words?
To paraphrase singer Laurie Morgan, what is about NO, you got NOTHING, don’t people understand?
To repeat: As was pointed out in my Politico.com column way up the line, the GOP was always going to turn the Biden talks to their advantage if Democrats didn’t have a strategy.
Now we know why Cantor ran out of the Biden meetings where all these cuts had been agreed to.
He panicked when he thought he had somehow died and gone to political heaven.