Last Deal Gone Down

Looks like a debt ceiling deal is in place, and John Boehner is declaring victory. All I can say is: we'll see. It is reassuring to see House progressives denouncing the deal as a "sugar-coated Satan sandwich." There must be something good in there if it can make someone that mad.

The cuts are of the fictional "slowing the rate of growth" variety, not actual cuts. But, for the first time that I am aware of, the public seems generally aware of the bogusness of the debt "crisis" and of the magic of baseline budgeting, which renders trillion dollar cuts to be evanescent. This is still a "DC" budget agreement, meaning it only really makes sense to budget wonks. (see Verum Serum's explanation for why the "baseline" will and will not prevent the Supercomittee from raising taxes).

I know there will be howls on the Right over the deal, not because they wanted to cause a default, but because there's a sense out there that cuts should be real cuts, not cuts in the rate of growth. And I can understand that. It's what's preventing this from feeling like a victory. But, you know who didn't win this fight? Barack Obama and the American Left. Ol' Golden Throat thought he could intimidate House conservatives by taking his "tax the rich" message to the American public. Well, he made his case ad nauseum, and failed spectacularly. Indeed, it was his arrogant demand for an additional $400 billion in revenue that sent John Boehner back to the Tea Party freshmen, and their allies. Maybe "we" didn't win, but the other guy sure as hell lost, and badly.

One thing that Rush Limbaugh said during the last week that I thought was effective: Republicans should stop acting like losers, and start acting like winners. By that he meant that the post-1994 Republican Congress had continued the Bob Michel mindset that came with 40 years in the House minority. They expected to lose, even though they had won a landslide election in November. At times, Rush seemed more like Mike Singletary, than the titular head of the Republican Party. But, you know, it was effective. When you saw the Democrats revving up their "Republicans are stealing X-mas" talking points for one last go, and the MSM eagerly re-typing DNC memos into front page stories, you had to think many in the GOP flinched. But, in the end, they obtained something of a back bone.

Is the deal perfect? Hell no! We've got this dumb Super-committee that is apparently going to agree on budget cuts. (Hah!) As usual, the only cuts that are imminent are cuts in defense spending, not entitlements. (not to say the Pentagon is sacrosanct. there's plenty of waste, fraud and abuse there. But at least national defense is in the Constitution). And tax increases are still very much in the mix. But, the deal gets us to 2012 with Democrats having failed to do the one thing they hoped to get out of this mess: pin the bad economy on the GOP.

All in all, it was a pretty good day at the office.

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