Saturday, April 09, 2011

A brief shining moment

One thing that's clear is Democrats are lousy negotiators. There's no good reason for them to have come out with so little in this shutdown showdown. But they lost the narrative from the moment they accepted the GOPers' frame that austerity cuts are necessary, when it's so painfully obvious, as Atrios says nearly every day, more jobs would reduce the deficit. In a sane world, the Democrats would be asking "where are the jobs" non-stop.

But as Greg Sargent already pointed out, "The showdown over Planned Parenthood was an admirable moment for Democrats."
Harry Reid and Dems deserve credit for drawing a bright line on Planned Parenthood funding and refusing to budget. It’s true that the GOP’s insertion of the Planned Parenthood rider into the debate at the last minute gave them more leverage to push up the level of spending cuts even higher. It’s also true, as Digby noted, that the Dems’ drawing of a bright line on Planned Parenthood felt a bit like an effort to take a stand on something to buy off the base, even as Dems kept capitulating on spending cuts. But nonetheless, Boehner was ultimately forced to cave on this point, and it showed that Dems look strong when they fight and refuse to budge. The degree to which this spirit will animate Dems in future fights remains to be seen.
Sadly, if I had to guess, I'd predict this was a one-off and Digby's assessment is the correct one. Nonetheless, it was good to see that they're actually capable of this sort of message discipline and it gives us a frame within which to remind them they could be doing it more often.

[More posts daily at the Detroit News.]

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