Yes, I'm Sure That Will Work
by David Atkins ("thereisnospoon")
As if the White House couldn't get any more dense, members of President Obama's text message feed received the following today:
Join President Obama in calling on Congress for a balanced approach to reducing the deficit. Contact your House representative at 202-499-4009.
You've got to be kidding. Since the Grand Bargain is pretty much dead, there are only two plans on the table, and they're pretty similar: Harry Reid's right-wing austerity approach that counts savings from reductions in spending on the wars overseas while shifting the need to take up this argument again until after the 2012 election, and John Boehner's even farther right-wing austerity measure that doesn't count those savings, while forcing everyone to go through this fight again early next year. President Obama has already vowed to veto Boehner's plan, even though Boehner may not even be able to get it past his own caucus. Reid's plan is dead in the water in the House--after all, they may yet reject Boehner's plan.
And President Obama is asking his supporters to call Congress and ask for a "balanced plan?" What balance? Those of us who have been calling this a kabuki ritual play have known for a long time that the final deal would be medium-level austerity measures for the rest of us, with no significant revenue increases from the wealthy who are still making out like bandits. The only question has been whether a market panic of sorts would be necessary, or whether Wall St. would manage to corral their little minions into doing their bidding first. Both Reid's and Boehner's plans fit the bill, albeit with different political implications. But there's no "balance" in either plan.
This approach from the White House has shades of OFA's push to "support the President's plan" during the healthcare reform imbroglio, even though no one could figure out exactly what the President's plan even was. If I were a member of Congress getting calls to my office asking for a "balanced approach", I'd studiously ignore them, and assume that whatever organization was pushing the calls was filled with abject morons.
Best I can tell, this isn't an attempt by the President to lobby Congress. It's an attempt to con his own supporters who don't know better into thinking that the President is advocating "balance" and "moderation" in the face of a deadlocked partisan Congress. Given the lack of awareness of the average voter, and the tendency of the media to continue to play a "both sides do it" game, I have no doubt the con will work.