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July 26, 2011

Carney: No, We Won't Write Our Plan Down
More Carney: To Even Ask That The President Show His Plan Is To Repeat a "Republican Talking Point"

Because they don't have one.

Chuck Todd: "Release your plan" Jay Carney: "We've shown a lot of leg" Todd: "Why not just release it?" Carney: "You need it written down?"

Yes, yes we do. It's an old old old negotiating trick to force the other side to make their starting offer first. The one who speaks first defines the outer parameters, the best case scenario, of what they seek. The deal will get no better for them from there.

But Obama has gotten the Republicans to speak first, and second, and third, and fourth. He continues offering no solutions himself, no proposals, because politically he doesn't want to take ownership of anything that happens; he wants to claim that he merely presided over a negotiation between Senate Democrats and House Republicans.

But that's a lie, of course. Reid and Boehner were actually making progress on a plan until Obama blew it up, by speaking up for the leftwing Congressional caucus and making fresh demands.

While what is described as financial apocalypse by Obama himself looms on the horizon of next week, he continues to sit back and invite everyone else to court him, doing nothing at all but receiving others' entreaties.

This is psychologically where he lives. His whole life has been nothing but other people coming to him to kiss his ass, while he does nothing but provide "hope;" why would his presidency be any different?

He's not a leader. He's a cheerleader smiling for votes for Prom Queen.

Meanwhile, though, there is chatter from Republicans that they should compromise towards Obama's position, whatever the hell that is.

Fred Thompson:

"Is this the best deal we could have obtained?” you might ask. I suggest that you don’t run the risk of finding out.

Yes, it’s true that the White House is using overwrought and misleading implications, and we’re still a long way from default. But do you really want to spend the next several months going on record as to which discretionary-spending programs (including the military) the administration should cut as much as 20, 30, or 40 percent? This is not the way to downsize. The political process won’t tolerate it, in part because this approach would require you to ask the American people to put aside their proclivity for divided government and trust Republicans to govern for the next couple of decades, which is what it will take to get us out of this mess. Taking huge, unnecessary risks like this is not consistent with long-term political success.

Yes, perhaps S&P and Moody’s are being manipulated and apparently have newly found religion regarding our long-term fiscal prospects. But by their own criteria, they should already have downgraded the United States, because until now, we have not shown the political will to address entitlements. No one knows what a downgrade will cause. The behavior of bond and stock markets is based in large part upon perception. Historically, even relatively small financial events have had unforeseen consequences. So have large ones. Conservatives, especially, should be mindful of unintended consequences."

Thompson makes the point that real change can only happen with a united, not divided, government, and we put that good possibility at risk if we start to see turmoil in the markets (or default, of course, should it come to that).


Cantor tells the troops to stand down:

“The debt limit vote sucks,” he said, according to an attendee of the closed meeting. But Republicans have three options, Cantor said: risk default, pass Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s (D-Nev.) plan — which he thinks gives President Barack Obama a blank check — or “call the president’s bluff” by passing the Boehner plan, which not only cuts deeply into domestic spending but calls for a bipartisan commission to find more savings.

Cantor also announced that the House will hold a vote on a balanced budget amendment Thursday, a nod to vocal conservatives in the conference.

House Republican leaders will spend Tuesday and Wednesday cobbling together votes to pass Boehner’s plan to hike the debt ceiling by $1 trillion and cut federal spending by a greater amount. Treasury says that the nation will run out of the ability to borrow money on Aug. 2.

I'm not completely opposed to this plan, because there's a limit to what can realistically be done when you hold just one house of Congress, but the plan is only good for six months, and Obama swore he'd veto it.

If Obama passes it, then we can revisit these issues next Thanksgiving, and drive for more cuts; but... won't Obama just veto it? I suppose it's worth seeing if he will, but if he does veto it, is this all just posturing? Do we then just pass Reid's unacceptable phantom-cuts-blank-check proposal?

I don't know.

NRO writer Yuval Levin calls the Boehner deal, should it pass, a "stunning victory."

As the details of the Boehner bill become clearer, it’s increasingly apparent that the bill is just what the moment calls for: significant cuts achieved through statutory sequestration caps, no tax increase, no backsliding on entitlement reform or implicit acceptance of Obamacare, a path to another process that could lead to more cuts without tax increases, and the setting of a precedent that from now on increases in the debt ceiling must be accompanied by proportional spending cuts. It’s far from perfect, of course—meaningful entitlement reform is the only way to really address the debt problem, and even short of that some more significant discretionary cuts would be good—but Republicans don’t control Washington, and given their limited formal power, an end to this process that looks something like this bill would be pretty remarkable.

Even the Reid bill, though its cuts are less real, would be a better conclusion than has seemed plausible throughout much of this process, and there is nothing particularly important about a “short-term” rather than a “long-term” increase, provided a long-term one maintains the one-for-one ratio of spending cuts to debt-ceiling increase. Something between the two bills, which is now perhaps the most that Democrats can hope for, would be an extraordinary win for Republicans.

But frankly, it’s not clear Reid can even get his bill through the Senate. If Boehner can get his through the House, the Senate would have to take up that bill (perhaps with modest amendments) and Republicans would set themselves up for a pretty stunning victory.

I think people are likely to say this sounds an awful lot like the Establishment selling the base on a stalemate, and I think they're probably right.

But... I just don't know if too much more than a stalemate is possible with Democrats controlling the Senate and the White House.

Update: Jay Carney has more for you.

Carney called Chuck Todd's (!) request to see Obama's specific plan "a Republican talking point."

Apocalypse Is Rising, and this guy won't put thoughts to paper?

Thanks to Slu for those Twitter tips.


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posted by Ace at 01:39 PM

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