Thursday, November 29, 2012

Fearful Republicans try to wriggle out of their own fiscal trap

Republicans, clearly having taken no lesson from the last election, are stuck on the same stupid tactics. Apparently they think they can bluff and bluster their way into luring Democrats into a trap over the so-called fiscal cliff negotiations. Seeing some amount of panic among the left that the Dems will fall for it again, but so far, I'm not seeing it.
Politico quotes a “top Democratic official” who paints the picture simply: “Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s your guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.”

That’s left Republicans in a peculiar negotiating position: They know they want “Medicare reform” — indeed, they frequently identify Medicare reform as the key to their support for a deal — but aside from premium support, they don’t quite know what they mean by it, and they’re afraid to find out.
In other words, GOPers fell into their own trap and don't know how to break free of it. They're pretending they're holding a winning hand, but in truth, everybody knows the Republicans got nothing but jokers:
This explains the GOP’s reliance on brinksmanship — they hope that the threat of the “fiscal cliff” will scare Obama into bargaining with them, offering political cover for policies the public rejects. But using the fiscal cliff as leverage puts the GOP in the position of defending yet another unpopular policy: raising middle-class taxes. So if we go to January, Republicans are defending the position that taxes on the middle class should rise in order to keep taxes on the rich low in order to cut Medicare. That’s not the way to rehabilitate your party’s image.
The GOP's only hope is to be rescued by the few remaining Blue Dogs.
The good news for the Republicans is that the Democratic policy establishment has plenty of deficit hawks who recall the Clinton era with pride and are generally well-disposed toward some kind of fiscally conservative budget agreement.
I've got news for the deficit hawks. The voters spoke very clearly and 2014 isn't that far away. Dems who fight for the public commons will be rewarded. Dems who cash in with the corporatists will learn the true meaning of "teh angry left." Old guard Dems need to realize in the internet age, institutional amnesia doesn't exist anymore. Every move is digitially recorded and retrievable at the click of a mouse. Voters won't forgive what they can no longer forget.

And by the way, before anyone in Congress tries to cut or "reform" Medicare/SS, they should cut their own lifetime retirement benefits as a show of good faith in "shared" sacrifice.

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