Well, yes, as a matter of fact we did. Every cloud has a silver lining; into every life a little rain must fall; etc. As a [not so] wise man once said, even Satan sandwiches come sugar coated.
That is actually benefit number 1: The Congressional Black Caucus has become disillusioned with their man god.
[partial transcript from MRC] We’ve got to educate the American people at the same time we educate the President of the United States. The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The President of the United States called for that. My response to him is to mass thousands of people in front of the White House to protest this.
Yes, that’s right. John Conyers is calling for mass protests at the White House against Barack Obama. Smile.
Benefit Number 2:
If John McCain had even so much as a smidgen of respect or credibility left with conservatives in America, he rolled it up around some cheap jute string thinking it was a good doobie and smoked it. Then washed it down with some cheap I’m a Loser Hooch.
Days after comparing its members to hobbits, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Monday credited the Tea Party for its role in pushing for a deficit deal.
“I don’t think without the Tea Party we would have had an agreement,” McCain said. “I think the Tea Partiers can claim a lot of credit.”
He’ll be remembered as the man who couldn’t win an election against the most incompetent person to ever sit in the Big Chair. (You know what they call the runner up? Number one loser.) He’ll be remembered as the man who called a rising force in American politics, the American taxpayer, a bunch of Hobbits and this is exactly what he deserves. He’s a typical DC elitist politician: contemptuous of the people who put them in office and pay the bills.
Benefit Number 3:
The media is going nuts with angst.
Paul Krugman’s headline: The President Surrenders
A deal to raise the federal debt ceiling is in the works. If it goes through, many commentators will declare that disaster was avoided. But they will be wrong.
For the deal itself, given the available information, is a disaster, and not just for President Obama and his party. It will damage an already depressed economy; it will probably make America’s long-run deficit problem worse, not better; and most important, by demonstrating that raw extortion works and carries no political cost, it will take America a long way down the road to banana-republic status.
It is, of course, a political catastrophe for Democrats, who just a few weeks ago seemed to have Republicans on the run over their plan to dismantle Medicare; now Mr. Obama has thrown all that away. And the damage isn’t over: there will be more choke points where Republicans can threaten to create a crisis unless the president surrenders, and they can now act with the confident expectation that he will.
NYT Editorial Position: To Escape Chaos, a Terrible Deal
There is little to like about the tentative agreement between Congressional leaders and the White House except that it happened at all. The deal would avert a catastrophic government default, immediately and probably through the end of 2012. The rest of it is a nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists. It will hurt programs for the middle class and poor, and hinder an economic recovery.
It is not yet set in stone, and there may still be time to make it better. But in the end, most Democrats will have no choice but to swallow their fury, accept the deal and, we hope, fight harder the next time.
The New Republic: Did Obama Get Rolled?
The debt ceiling agreement is a horrible piece of legislation. It ratchets down already too-low domestic discretionary spending caps and imposes painful sacrifice on the middle class with little asked of the rich.
Going back to December, the Democrats committed a massive blunder by failing to push for a debt ceiling increase. At the time, observers like Ezra Klein were noting how absurd it would be to let Republicans force through a deficit-increasing policy (extending the Bush tax cuts) and then let Republicans stick Democrats with the blame for the debt ceiling. A reporter even asked him about the Republican Party’s ability to use this vote as leverage, and Obama seemed not to grasp the point at all.
blah, blah, blah
Yes, you and I know that they are incompetent whiners; that tax increases and increased spending are not going to save the whales, the poor or the planet. We know that their agenda is disastrous, but they don’t, and they see this as cataclysmic failure. That makes me smile and it should reassure you that it is not an utter and complete disaster as it would have been in 2008 or 2009.
Benefit Number 4: His approval rating is within 40% of where it should be and trending the right direction.
President Obama’s job-approval rating has dropped to a new low of 40 percent in the Gallup daily tracking poll, down from a relatively steady average of 46 percent in much of June and July. The low now coincides almost perfectly with the 41 percent approval rating he got from Americans in a recent survey for his handling of the deficit crisis.
The president was garnering only a 41 percent approval rating in April, before the debt-ceiling battle was really under way. He saw an uptick to 50 percent in May and June, just after he announced that U.S. forces had killed Osama bin Laden.
And some of his losses are amongst his base, those he needs to GOTV, contribute and worship at his feet.
Washington (CNN) – President Barack Obama’s approval rating is down to 45 percent, driven in part by growing dissatisfaction on the left with the president’s track record in office, according to a new national survey.
And of course, the president’s men are “not concerned” and since they haven’t spoken a word of truth since … well, since ever, we can assume they are very concerned.
[Plouffe] also spoke with ABC, CBS and NBC, where he was asked repeatedly if the deal, as the NYT’s Paul Krugman suggests, was a surrender.
“The headlines are not all kind this morning,” said host Erica Hill on the CBS News “Early Show.” “The front page of USA Today talks about the political damage done to the president. Words have been thrown out there like ‘diminished,’ ‘surrendered,’ ‘capitulation,’ and his latest approval rating now at 40 percent.”
“We’re not concerned about any of that,” Plouffe said.
“As the president said last night, it’s been messy,” Plouffe told CBS. “I think the American people obviously would like a little bit more compromise and a little less shouting. That’s the leadership the president tried to bring.”
Benefit Number 5: There’s going to be some collateral damage for other democrats.
When historians look back on this moment in American politics, they may wonder why the White House failed to focus on the consuming issue of the time: the economy — and, in particular, jobs.
An exasperated U.S. Sen. Bob Casey Jr., D-Pa., said in a recent phone interview, “Frankly, our constituents really just want us to focus on jobs.”
Instead, he and five Western Pennsylvania congressmen are caught in the crosshairs of Washington’s political blood sport, as both parties clash over debt limits and deficits.
Outside Washington, constituents are clamoring about the economy — or, as U.S. Rep. Jason Altmire, D-McCandless, interprets it: “Let us know when you guys are done with the bickering, so we can talk about fixing our economy.”
Benefit Number 6: Taxes = bad; Spending cuts = good.
You and I now know that taxes are going up, but they’re all lying about it. It has become the accepted wisdom (among those in the political class that aren’t in super safe D+50 districts) that they won’t get any public kudos for raising taxes. Even when they do it, they want it on the sly and under the command and control of a Commission™.
I guess I love every word in this clip from the Washington Examiner:
Democrats seem especially unhappy. They could have avoided the fight in the first place by raising the debt ceiling in the lame duck session in December, when they had large majorities in both houses of Congress.
But they decided not to. Reid’s comments then suggested that he expected the issue to split the House Republicans, pitting the leadership against the 87 Tea Party-sympathizing freshmen. The leaders would have to agree to a tax increase in order to get a deal, with a party schism like the one that followed George H.W. Bush’s agreement to a tax increase in 1990.
That didn’t happen. Instead Reid abandoned his demand for a tax increase. The reason, I think, is that he hasn’t had a 50-vote majority for a tax increase in the Senate, just as Senate Democrats haven’t been able to pass a budget.
All of which left Barack Obama looking somewhat ridiculous when he called for more taxes in his televised speech Monday night. When you’re trying to show you’re leading and your followers have already gone off in another direction, you tend to look like something other than a leader.
Some Democrats, in frustration, have said House Republicans are acting “almost like a dictatorship” or are using “terrorist tactics.” But in opposing tax increases, House Republicans are just being true to the voters who gave them in November 2010 a larger majority than they have won since 1946.
Other Democrats have taken to blaming Obama. Robert Reich, labor secretary in the Clinton administration, decries an empty bully pulpit. Paul Krugman, the trade economist who writes partisan vitriol for the New York Times, talks about a centrist copout.
Benefit Number 7: Keynes is dead. Better late than never. Ding Dong.
Durbin: Debt Deal Will Be The Death Of Keynesian Economics
The Republicans are killing Keynesian economics with their attempt to cut spending as the economy rebounds from a recession, Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said in a floor speech on Sunday.
“I would say … that symbolically, that agreement is moving us to the point where we are having the final interment of John Maynard Keynes,” he said, referring to the British economist. “He nominally died in 1946 but it appears we are going to put him to his final rest with this agreement.”
Keynes argued that aggregate demand was not always enough to spur full employment and that outside structures, such as governments, could influence the economy to create jobs and regulate business cycles. His thinking influenced later New Deal spending by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Benefit Number 8: (If I keep going on this list, I may overcome my dismay!) The end of Harry Reid as we know it
We don’t know all the details of the negotiations between Mitch McConnell and the White House which apparently are closing in on an agreement, but one thing is clear, Harry Reid has become a sideshow.
The master of the Senate was left to denouncing Mitch McConnell as, basically, a liar for saying an agreement was close and there had been progresss, only hours later to announce that a vote on Reid’s futile bill would be postponed for 12 hours at the request of the White House. Reid was left looking like the only guy in the room who didn’t know.
McConnell went around Reid, as had John Boehner, and there was nothing Reid could do about it.
So. Do I love the bill? No. Do I like the bill? No. Do I think it will take us off the road to Doom? No. But does that mean I won’t lick the sugar off the Satan sandwich? No.
Please feel free to bring me any other benefits you can imagine. I’m in the mood for some cheering up. Or chocolate, one or the other.
UPDATE: And you know what is the very best of everything? That sweet, sweet fresh schadenfreude, that’s what.
Nancy Pelosi is sick at heart. Yes, sick at heart and I would feel for her, except … well, see the picture.
Washington (CNN) – House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi continued to withhold her endorsement for the debt deal Monday, even though President Obama said Sunday night Congressional leaders were on board.
Speaking to reporters on her way into a closed door meeting with House Democrats Monday, Pelosi said, “We’re very concerned that a bill that makes these big cuts and has no – not one red cent from the wealthiest people in our country – no revenue – is very disconcerting, that is.”
Pelosi added that she was weighing the positive aspects of the deal, like its long length and that it does not include entitlement cuts, and the negative aspects. She said she would discuss the measure with her caucus.
Pressed on whether she had made a decision to support the deal, she said, “I’m not going to be making any announcement.”
Who’s laughing now, Nancy girl?