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April 11, 2013

Spoiler Alert: Yet Another Weaponized Budget Designed to Fail

Behold the President's tactical brilliance, which appears to consist of running the same cynical play over and over and over again:

Step 1: Propose something full of poison pills both sides will have to oppose.

Step 2: Pretend to "fight" for it by randomly inserting pithy sound bytes into your fundraising speeches as you jet around the country doing the really important work of Organizing for Obama.

Step 3: Subtly suggest that when if it fails, Someone Else Will Be To Blame.

Step 4: Remind the American people that you can't do this without their help.

Step 5: Time for the weekly email blast! It's another critical fundraising deadline!!!

Step 6: Demonize the "do-nothing Congress" to distract from your complete disinterest in forging a deal. Everyone hates Congress.

Step 7: At the 11th hour when the press begin announcing that your plan is going down in flames, call Republicans to the White House for a heroic attempt to "save" a proposal that was designed to fail from the very beginning. Allow, say, 25 minutes for both sides to compromise on serious policy differences that have existed for decades.

Step 8: Loudly proclaim that you can't work with opponents who more interested in partisan politicking than solving the nation's problems.

Yep, they'll never see this one coming!

Now that President Obama has released his budget with its concessions to Republicans, revenue increases, infrastructure and education investments I have a very strong sense of deja vu. Like I’ve seen this movie before.

Oh yeah, the American Jobs Act of 2011! While it never really went anywhere, it gave Obama a handy hammer with which to knock congressional Republicans as putting politics ahead of country and holding back the economic recovery. By including revenue and chained CPI in his budget, the president has the hammer in hand again.

Mein Gott im Himmel!!! Has Herr Capeheart not received his copy of the presidential playbook? Good Lord, man, don't spoil the surprise!

Chained CPI is a proposed calculation to limit the rate of increase in Social Security benefits, and it is loved on the right and reviled on the left. So, as a show of good faith, Obama proposed it as part of a fiscal-cliff deal with Speaker John Boehner, who turned up his nose at it in favor of a Plan B for which he couldn’t even rustle up Republican votes. Now that it’s back as part of the White House budget, many Democrats fret that chained CPI will be the beginning of many more concessions. They needn’t worry.

“Obama and his people apparently know that this whole thing is smoke and mirrors … ,” noted Michael Tomasky on the Daily Beast. “It really doesn’t much matter what Obama proposes because as long as it includes revenues, which it always will, nothing is going to happen.” Adding to the smoke and mirrors is the fact that the president doesn’t even like chained CPI. “[A]dministration officials insisted yesterday that Obama does not view Chained CPI as good policy,” Greg Sargent wrote, describing a call in which Obama officials outlined the president’s budget.

This is sheer political genius, because nothing promotes an atmosphere of trust, hope, comity, and compromise (not to mention underscoring the fundamental seriousness of your plan) more than proposing Important Concessions and then telling the press you think they're bad policy.

It almost brings a tear to the eye.

Posted by Cassandra at April 11, 2013 06:26 AM

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Wow! No wonder the president doesn't have time to practice his basketball shots!

Posted by: spd rdr at April 11, 2013 01:01 PM

I just can't get past the way the press continually let this guy off the hook.

4 years without submitting a budget that meets even his own party's standards????

Posted by: Cassandra at April 11, 2013 01:58 PM

What "hook?" When the Watchdog of the Republic has regressed to gushing over the president like a love-struck puppy, there is no hook. For example: This bit of junior high school-level justification from the NYT:

The Social Security proposal remains a bad idea, and, as this page has explained, it could hurt vulnerable retirees and stymie better ideas to improve the system, like raising the wage cap subject to the payroll tax. But it seems unlikely to happen if Mr. Obama holds to his demand for more revenues in exchange, given the Republican intransigence. For now, it has served its purpose — no one will be able to accuse Mr. Obama of refusing to touch entitlements, and no one can credit Republicans for being at all serious about a deficit-reduction compromise.

Yep. No one can say he didn't try! Even if he didn't mean it, he said it! And that's good enough for us! Of course, the Republicans aren't serious about deficit compromise because they think that the president should do more than just say stuff that he does mean, even if the stuff says and doesn't mean proves that no one can say that at least the president didn't try - which is good enough for us! Republicans: They Don't Even Try.

Makes you want to pull the covers up over your head and scream, doesn't it?

Posted by: spd rdr at April 11, 2013 02:42 PM

Obama gets an "A" for effort.

Republicans, go stand in the corner until you feel better about yourselves.

Posted by: Grading on a Curve at April 11, 2013 04:04 PM

But it's a "balanced" approach, by the new definition, which has nothing to do with balancing the budget but is all about using the word "balance" as a code for "raising taxes and then increasing spending by an even greater amount."

Republicans should try this. You like unions? Well, this bill to outlaw collective bargaining and institute a right-to-work rule is a "unionized" approach, because it accomplishes a union between the twin goals of undermining a dangerous bargaining tool and preventing labor bosses from raising PAC money from workers who don't even agree with their political positions. If you oppose this bill you hate union!

Posted by: Texan99 at April 11, 2013 10:42 PM