White House officials said this week that the offer is still on the table. – Obama’s evolution: Behind the failed ‘grand bargain’ on the debt
How quickly people forget.
A 2010 Gallup poll serves as a reality backdrop to this tale.
The report in the Washington Post over the weekend gives you an idea of the dynamics in the debt ceiling negotiations, as well as what could play out in Obama’s second term. It also illustrates the traditional media sympathies for a grand bargain on entitlements. This sentiment is woven throughout the report, but also across the cable infotainment shows.
While Republicans distract everyone with 19th century debates on women’s contraception, Democrats are once again being lulled into forgetting some of the things that caused Pres. Obama so much trouble in his first term.
That night, Obama prepared his party’s congressional leaders. He warned Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that he might return to the position under discussion the previous Sunday — that is, cuts to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid in exchange for just $800 billion in tax increases.
Would they support him?
The Democratic leaders “kind of gulped” when they heard the details, Daley recalled.
By this time, Obama had become the face of the bitter debt-ceiling talks and his poll numbers were dropping. His allies on Capitol Hill cringed at his predicament but also at what he was asking them to do.
Dan Pfeiffer, the White House communications director, recalled that the president and his team felt the weight of the global economy “on our shoulders.”
“Is there political benefit to coming to a big budget deal with John Boehner? Sure,” Pfeiffer said. “But every other political and message imperative was thrown out the door to prevent a disaster and do the right thing for the country. That’s why we were willing to do things we wouldn’t normally do.”
Reluctantly, Reid and Pelosi agreed to do their best to support the plan.
I’ve argued from the start of this discussion that this is a seminal part of Pres. Obama’s willingness to choose conservatism and compromise, allowing Republicans to win arguments that are diametrically opposed to what the public wants. Even Tea Partiers want their entitlements.
This is also part of the problem with our politics, because Congress is nothing more than a rubber stamp for the chief executive, with members willing to sell out principle for a president, if he’s in their own party. It’s the best case for fewer Democrats and Republicans in Congress, allowing more Independents into the conversation in Congress.
But you have to wonder, now that entitlements are seen to be the biggest problem and impediment to our economic health across the political landscape, if an effective campaign can even be waged over the ridiculous notion that entitlements are a bigger problem than our Pentagon spending.
In his second term, Pres. Obama will be freer to get a grand bargain, which he and Democratic leaders clearly were ready to do in his first. Of course, if Republicans had their way cuts to entitlements would look even worse, opening the lesser of two evils argument that partisans invariably use, with this issue revealing why it works.
That’s the big two corporate parties, who differ in varying degrees on their notions of what should be done with entitlements, but who basically agree that this is the path to solving our fiscal challenges.
A second Obama term or a Mitt Romney first, entitlements are very likely “on the table.”
So, the Republican “war on women” has had a secondary affect. It’s taken Democratic eyes off of another fundamental tenet of progressive economic policy, making people forget why after Obama’s back room health care deals, there were other issues that had succeeded in dampening enthusiasm for Pres. Obama.