How terrified should progressives and more importantly the poor, the middle class, government workers and military vets be if both Barack Obama and Lindsey Graham feel as though there could be common ground between them concerning the nation’s budgetary issues. The answer is very terrified.
Graham, the senior Senator from South Carolina was called personally by Obama, the 44th President of the United States earlier this week and was invited to dine with him along with eleven other GOP members from Congress’ upper chamber.
According to Graham the get together was cordial and he left the impression that deals in Washington D.C., and particularly the “Big Deal” could possibly become a reality.
“Last night’s dinner with President Obama and my Republican colleagues was productive and substantive. I hope it will serve as the beginning of a new, long-overdue paradigm where people in elected office actually begin talking to each other about meaningful issues.
“The discussions with the President about our long-term budget problems were candid and differences in philosophy were apparent. However, also apparent was common ground on how to move forward.
“One thing I am certain of — the perpetual campaign will not solve the nation’s problems.
“Finally, I shared with my colleagues there is no dishonor in trying and failing to solve big problems. The long-term budgetary problems we discussed last night have defied bipartisan solutions for far too long. I’m ready to try to solve the serious, long-term budget problems our
country faces and can accept failure as an outcome. But I cannot accept not trying.”
If it seems like some Republicans are eager to do the “Big Deal” or the “Grand Bargain” or whatever the hell they want to call it, its because the argument over the nation’s fiscal policy and what it should be is not just taking place on their side of the 50 yard line, it’s taking place inside their own 10.
While appearing on “The Last Word with Lawrence O’ Donnell” on Thursday night “The Nation” magazine’s and MSNBC’s Chris Hayes basically crystallized the entire spending cuts vs. tax hikes shouting match that has paralyzed the country by saying no matter how you slice it, “we are having an argument about how to institute austerity.”
The fact that on their own website the White House is touting proposed budget cuts to the tune of $930 billion dollars while only getting back $580 billion in tax revenue certainly cements that and is enough to make any true progressive’s jaw drop, throw in an additional $100 billion in cuts through Chained CPI, which would affect Social Security beneficiaries and that will make those same progressives throw up their hands.
Some things are and should forever be non negotiable, and Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid in the minds of both Liberals and Conservatives are one of them. The White House and Congressional Republicans have been locked in this ridiculous stalemate over which one of them is really going to cut the “Big Three”. Neither wants to be seen with the knife in their hand committing the act.
What may once again be the saving grace in this whole affair is the Republican Party’s inability to say yes. Despite their being a sweetheart deal on the table for them and despite having Republicans like Graham and Oklahoma Senator Tom Coburn willing to talk about tax hikes and loophole closures, old reliable himself, House Speaker John Boehner is still not sold on the premise.
Boehner said at his weekly Capitol news conference. “If the president continues to insist on tax hikes, I don’t think we’re going to get very far. If the president doesn’t believe that we have a spending problem, I don’t know if we’re going to get very far. But I’m optimistic.”
Republicans screwed themselves in 2011 because they got to greedy, Boehner was talked out of a “Grand Bargain” by Eric Cantor and company because the ultimate ace in the hole for them was grinding the wheels of Government to a halt thus in their minds making it impossible for Obama to get re-elected.
The fact that there is no order taking figure head in the person of Mitt Romney occupying the White House makes 2013 different from 2011and makes me wonder what would happen if Boehner wakes up. What would happen if Boehner said primary challenge be damned, speakership done, this is too good to pass up?
What if there is a deal? What does that do to Barack Obama’s legacy, something he is clearly mindful of. Will history remember him as the Democratic President who gave away the store? Make no mistake, other elected Democratic officials have committed assault on the poor and middle class with budget cuts (Tip O’Neill, Bill Clinton) but none possibly like this, at such a devastating time like this.
What does Barack Obama do if Republicans extend their hand in agreement? Ever feel like you know the answer to a question but you wish you didn’t?