Chumped

The L.A. Times frame on this story was wrong, wrong, wrong. Obama will, as I predicted here after last week’s call with Nancy Pelosi, throw his weight behind the Catfood Commission plan:

President Obama plans this week to respond to a Republican blueprint for tackling the soaring national debt by promoting a bipartisan approach pioneered by an independent presidential commission rather than introducing his own detailed plan.

Obama will not blaze a fresh path when he delivers a much-anticipated speech Wednesday afternoon at George Washington University. Instead, he is expected to offer support for the commission’s work and a related effort underway in the Senate to develop a strategy for curbing borrowing. Obama will frame the approach as a responsible alternative to the 2012 plan unveiled last week by House Republicans, according to people briefed by the White House.

Just as I predicted. All the hoo-hah over the Ryan plan was only to soften us up for what Obama wanted all along: The plan from his handpicked members of the Catfood Commission. Just like he did with the healthcare plan, he sat down with the players and worked out his own back-door “bipartisan” deal to sidestep that messy democracy thing he finds so distasteful.

Letting others take the lead on complex problems has become a hallmark of the Obama presidency. On health care, last year’s tax deal and the recent battle over 2011 spending cuts, Obama has repeatedly waited as others set the parameters of the debate, swooping in late to cut a deal. The tactic has produced significant victories but exposed Obama to criticism that he has shown a lack of leadership.

Like the House GOP budget plan, the Senate effort — led by three Democrats and three Republicans known as the Gang of Six — aims to cut about $4 trillion from the debt over the next decade. But the group is looking to reduce spending in all categories, while urging a rewrite of the tax code that would raise revenue. The Republican plan would cut spending on domestic programs while protecting the military and preserving George W. Bush-era tax cuts that disproportionately benefit high earners.

The work of the Gang of Six is modeled on recommendations of the fiscal commission Obama appointed last year. On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the commission had “created a framework that may help us reach a deal and a compromise.”

“The fiscal commission showed that you need to look at entitlements, you need to look at tax expenditures, you need to look at military spending, you need to look at all of these issues,” Carney said. “You can’t — you can’t simply slash entitlements, lower taxes and call that a fair deal.”

7 thoughts on “Chumped

  1. On NPR report last night, David Plouffe says (and I think it’s quotes from other appearances) that Obama and Boehner are building a strong personal relationship, and Mara Liasson brings up the O’Neill and Reagan relations, which brought to my mind that magazine cover showing Obama buddying it up with Reagan:

    LIASSON: More than anything else, the resolution of this next big debate may depend on two men: President Obama and House Speaker Boehner.

    Mr. DAVID PLOUFFE (Senior Advisor, White House): I think it’s a growing and strengthening relationship and it needs to be.

    LIASSON: That’s David Plouffe, the president’s top political adviser, who points out that in the last couple of weeks, Barack Obama and John Boehner spent more time together on the phone and in-person than they ever had before.

    Mr. PLOUFFE: When you go through a process like this, like the president and the speaker did, you’ll learn a lot about the other person and you do build up trust. And you understand that you do have the ability even if it comes at the last moment to find common ground.

    LIASSON: Hmm, maybe not as comfortable yet, as Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill. But it’s the power relationship that counts the most in Washington these days, and it will be tested in the weeks leading up to the debt ceiling deadline. (My emphasis)

    What Obama says will be known this afternoon; what he means and does will be shown soon enough.

  2. UMMM, as I remember it, THERE WAS NO PLAN FROM THE DEFICIT COMMISSION. (Sorry to yell, Susie, but I am getting to the point where I am just losing it over the smallest things)

    There was a plan cooked up by Simpson and Bowles, but it was never passed according to the rules of the commission, which is why it never went to the congress. It should have been thrown in the trash at that time. So the president is fishing out of the trash recommendations made NOT by his own hand picked commission, but by just two old rich guys, one of whom is certifiably crazy as a loon.

    Why is anybody allowed to say that this is a recommendation of the Deficit Reduction Commission when it was NOT? And since when is it a good idea to run our country on the basis of the crank ideas of two old rich white guys and on immoral opportunist?

  3. Look up, “Overton Window.”
    If a bully says he’s going to beat you with a bat, you’re happy to just let him take your wallet. They move the frame far outside your comfort zone, then pull it back a little and everyone sighs with relief. Thusly, the frame is permanently moved. See also the institutionalization of Bush II’s policies.

  4. The Guardian reports on Britain’s health system on austerity:

    “The line that the NHS is being protected from cuts – even to frontline services – is looking increasingly absurd”, Dr Hamish Meldrum, chairman of the British Medical Association’s ruling council, told the Guardian on Tuesday. “The financial pressures are really starting to bite and these are yet more examples of vital services that are showing signs of the strain and that will be stretched to the limit.”

    Heyworth pointed to NHS figures showing a steep rise in patients waiting more than four hours for A&E treatment, saying they showed “an increasing mismatch between ever rising demand, ever limited emergency medicine consultant numbers, which are woefully inadequate, and limited hospital bed capacity for emergency patients.”

    The hospital statistics reveal that 292,052 people in England were not treated within the four-hour target between July and December last year, soon after Lansley announced in June that he intended to scrap the rule. That was up from 176,522 patients in the same period in 2009 – a 65% leap inside one year.

    The A&E statistics coincided with the axing of 890 jobs by the London Ambulance Service (LAS) and the disclosure that services in which specialist nurses help people with diseases such as cancer and diabetes are also facing cuts.

    The ambulance service cuts in London will see 560 frontline posts disappear, including paramedics. The capital may also see some of its ambulance stations close, while, according to LAS chief executive Peter Bradley, solo paramedics rather than two-person crews will start responding to more callouts from September as part of a drive to save £53m over the next five years. (My emphasis)

    Who could ever have imagined steep cuts to social services and health could result in negative outcomes? Who, I ask? Certainly, no the Austerians!

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