The President Says We Won. Harry Reid Says We Won. So Why Does My Butt Hurt?
You know, I really want to feel good about this. I watch President Obama looking his usual calm and confident self during his late night press announcement telling us that it’s all good. Really. The evil Republicans almost shut down the government! They were holding Planned Parenthood hostage! At gunpoint!
At this point you can hear the dramatically ominous-sounding chords being hammered out on the piano, the same ones that always get hammered out whenever there is a damsel in distress on the train tracks screaming her little lungs out. But then, just as the train is bearing down and Snidely Whiplash (I’m giving away my age here, I know) is laughing uproariously at the prospect of poor Nell getting cut in half, here comes Dudley Do Right to save the day!
So that’s where the applause comes in, and that’s where we all feel better because, once again, Nell has been rescued – so that she can be sacrificed again for even better ratings on the next episode.
And I’m left wondering exactly what will be the next episode in this budget battle that we supposedly won? How much ‘better’ will it get for the Democrats next time? Because somehow, when I hear both Reid and the President talking about how this is the “biggest spending cut in history” like this is something to be proud of? Seriously? Are you effin kiddin me? The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein, who I think usually has a pretty good feel for these things, has some serious questions:
“The substance of this deal is bad. But the way Democrats are selling it makes it much, much worse.
The final compromise was $38.5 billion below 2010’s funding levels. That’s $78.5 billion below President Obama’s original budget proposal, which would’ve added $40 billion to 2010’s funding levels, and $6.5 billion below John Boehner’s original counteroffer, which would’ve subtracted $32 billion from 2010’s budget totals. In the end, the real negotiation was not between the Republicans and the Democrats, or even the Republicans and the White House. It was between John Boehner and the conservative wing of his party. And once that became clear, it turned out that Boehner’s original offer wasn’t even in the middle. It was slightly center-left.”
“So why were Reid and Obama so eager to celebrate Boehner’s compromise with his conservative members? The Democrats believe it’s good to look like a winner, even if you’ve lost. But they’re sacrificing more than they let on. By celebrating spending cuts, they’ve opened the door to further austerity measures at a moment when the recovery remains fragile. Claiming political victory now opens the door to further policy defeats later.”
I back the prez as often as I can because I still believe in the man, and I know his job has got to be harder than anything I can imagine, especially now. But sometimes a brotha gotta scream, and this deal makes me wanna holla “Hey! Tell the people the truth! We just got screwed!” Because then, at least the president could try using the line that he held the fort for as long as he could. But once the enemy overruns the fort and begins setting fire to our homes, it defies logic to insist how happy we all are that we all had different beliefs but look how wonderfully we have come together. Like it says on Daily Koz this morning:
“There is, however, no need to put lipstick on a pig. And that’s what touting the “biggest annual spending cut in history” as a good thing does. More lipstick from Harry Reid in giving kudos to the other side. Instead of praising the Republicans, why not come out and say the GOP screwed rank-and-file Americans? Why not say the Democrats did what they could to slow them down, but that now millions will suffer because of the cuts the party had crammed down its throat to avoid the entire government being shut down? Hell’s bells, the Democratic leadership could have even said they did it for the troops.
But no, it’s kumbaya for Republicans bent on cramming yet more of its radical agenda down the nation’s throat.”
And that, as Stephen Colbert likes to say, is the word. -Keith Owens