Goldilocks Villagers Are Thrilled
If you wonder how the Very Serious Villagers are analysing the politics the Catfood Commission's draft report today, look no further than Lori Montgomery of the Washington Post:
JIM LEHRER: Now, I noticed that you mentioned the Pentagon, 15 percent cut in defense spending. And they even outlined, if I read this correctly, some specific weapons systems that should be eliminated.
LORI MONTGOMERY: Well, that's right. And what's been surprising to many people is that there are some Republicans that are willing to embrace this idea.
And if they're going to sell Social Security cuts to the liberal Democrats, who right now are screaming the loudest about this plan, they are going to have to have some serious reductions in military spending in there, too.
JIM LEHRER: Give us a feel for the reaction. There's been a lot of it in the last couple of hours.
Well, Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the House, said, this is -- just right off the top, is unacceptable, right?
LORI MONTGOMERY: Simply unacceptable, that's exactly what she said.
There's an interesting dynamic developing. I guess I should mention, first of all, that the White House also has been a little, like, well, this is just a starting point, very sort of noncommittal at this point.
But, otherwise, there's an interesting dynamic developing, both on and off the commission. Many of the members, except for the most liberal members, the champions of Social Security, are very reluctant to outright criticize this thing.
They're calling it a serious effort, something that they have to respect. And nobody is -- I mean, nobody is for it, but nobody is totally against it either.
And then you have got some people on the outside, longtime balance-budget advocates, who are calling this thing a breakthrough. It's like, you know: This is a serious plan. We can't go back to pretending that, you know, eliminating ear marks is going to solve our budget problems any more.
JIM LEHRER: But, then, on the other side, there -- Grover Norquist said that this was -- was a secret way or a camouflaged way -- of course, I'm paraphrasing -- but to raise taxes. And he essentially said it's unacceptable from his point view as well.
LORI MONTGOMERY: That's right. They're calling it a trillion-dollar tax increase.
But it's interesting that these very extreme reactions are coming from the far end of the party, of each party. I think that there is a middle ground that is going to try to massage this thing, and -- and could bring this whole debate back to life in a way that I think everybody was assuming it wouldn't be resuscitated.
Obama has made some less than savvy political decisions in office but this one (the deficit commission) has to take the cake. If he ends up signing on to deep cuts in social security in exchange for some tax hikes (which will be subject to revision by the next idiot Republican who comes into office bleating "it's your money!") then he will have presided over the destruction of the Democratic Party. If they can't even protect the safety net during a time of great financial stress --- when they have the presidency and one house of congress --- just what the hell is the point?
The irony is that we already tried this. Bill Clinton completely erased the deficit and left a surplus just ten years ago. He thought he was finally vanquishing the "tax and spend liberal" label and that Democrats could never again be accused of being irresponsible stewards of the nation's economy. Yet the minute the Republicans took charge, they spent it all on tax cuts, goodies for corporations and illegal, useless wars, racking up trillions more in debt. That whole thing worked out so well for Democrats that they're going to re-run it, only this time instead of "protecting social security first" they're rushing to be the ones to "destroy social security first."
Then surely the Republicans won't ever be able to call them irresponsible again. Right?
The good news is that the wealthy celebrity gasbags are all on board. Today they were positively giddy with delight that we were finally getting down to doing what Andrea Mitchell told us was necessary nearly two years ago:
MSNBC commentator: ... The subtext of all of this [call to service] is "hey Americans, you're gonna have to do your part too. There may be some sacrifices involved for you too." Do you think he's going to use his political capital to make those arguments and will it go beyond rhetoric?
Andrea Mitchell: It does go beyond rhetoric. He needs to engage the American people in this joint venture. That's part of the call. That's part of what he needs to accomplish in his speech and in the days following the speech. He needs to make people feel that this is their venture as well and that people are going to need to be more patient and have to contribute and that there will have to be some sacrifice.
And certainly, if he is serious about what he told the Washington Post last week, that he wants to take on entitlement reform, there will be greater sacrifice required from a nation already suffering from economic crisis --- to ask people to take a look at their health care and their other entitlements and realize that for the long term health and vitality of the country we're going to have to give up something that we already enjoy.
I'm quite sure that she and her husband Alan Greenspan have been busily clipping coupons and collecting cans and bottles in anticipation of this moment. Never let it be said they aren't willing to pitch in.
(And don't tell anyone, but they're having a big party at their house tonight to celebrate the fact that none of the parasites noticed that there wasn't even one "sacrifice" required of the Masters of the Universe and John Galts who make this country great.)