Bipartisan Martyrdom

Whiners in both parties are so stuck in gear they can’t stop wailing long enough to see that this debt deal accomplishes so little that it isn’t worth shedding a single tear on the left or the right.

If anything, it’s the tea partiers who lost what they most wanted: Default. As a commentator on Daily Kos notes, “For them, this was not a hostage negotiation, they wanted to kill the hostage. In this they failed — totally.”

On the left, the main complaint is that tax cuts for the wealthy were not touched. But it’s important to remember that this fight started over the simple question of whether or not to raise the debt ceiling, the wrong place for putting all spending and taxation questions on the table. That’s what the budget process should be all about.

This debt ceiling battle has at least helped spotlight the tax issue. Polls show it paved the way for more Americans to support higher taxes for the rich and big business when the Bush cuts come up for review.

Social Security and Medicare are safe, in this bill at least. Defense spending is targeted, but worried hawks can take heart that, as in most of this package, it’s yet another elusive “cut” for the future.

Indeed, so many of the core arguments are postponed that the warring factions ought to just save their ammunition this week. It’s call for a study committee and spending-cut triggers are favorite Capitol Hill devices for satisfying current demand and ultimately doing nothing.

While my view is that President Obama won because he got what he most wanted, extending the debt ceiling long enough to avoid a do-over of this mess until after his reelection campaign, at the end of the day there are no real winners or losers on the big budget issues – because nothing much was really done.

Given how little actually takes immediate and full effect in this legislation and how much is kicked down the road, Congress could have just passed a clean debt ceiling increase months ago, avoiding this prolonged and pitiful distraction.

49 thoughts on “Bipartisan Martyrdom”

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  2. Given how little actually takes immediate and full effect in this legislation and how much is kicked down the road, Congress could have just passed a clean debt ceiling increase months ago, avoiding this prolonged and pitiful distraction.

    Yup… once again politicians acting like a bunch of grade schoolers.

  3. Whsky, So much in that Clemons piece I disagree with, hard to know where to begin. But this is really off base:

    “Barack Obama had a chance to demonstrate that he had a little FDR in him — by taking the recalcitrance of the DeMint camp and crushing it through executive authority, by triggering the authorities of the Fourteenth Amendment in the Constitution — and forcing a great national fight over the system of checks and balances between branches of government.”

    I mean, really, going down a path that lets right wingers keep the fight alive in the courts and allows GOP justices to shoot him down about as dumb as FDR’s court-packing dissaster.

  4. “So far he is making Romney look like Reagan to his Jimmy Carter impersonation.”

    jack, and the whiners that we liberals are (won’t go as far as mr. mustard to say cry babies) will again encourage teddy/ralph-like insurgencies because an incumbant is not mr. perfect and it’ll once more be “mourning in america”

    we always shoot ourselves in the foot. one of these days we’re going to run out of foots.

  5. My biggest grump is that absolutely nothing was solved. At a time when the nation truly needed Statesmen with the best interests of the nation at heart, we got these venal little squabblers. It would be impossible for me to adequately describe my disgust with the minions of the Tea Party, but I can’t say I hold the representatives of the Democratic party in much higher esteem.

  6. Tea Party Politics is Crazy, But They Won
    by Taylor Marsh

    Obamanomics is here and the country is stuck with it; an orphaned idea hollowly culled from Republicanism that ignores jobs and growth for cuts, cuts, cuts, while discounting that it’s the middle class and “working stiffs” who fuel demand that inspires corporations to create jobs in the first place.

    The Tea Party played Pres. Obama and the Democratic party for the craven, purposeless, unmotivated political class they are; a group of individuals who stand for nothing but promoting celebrity over philosophical muscle that may not be perfect, but has at its heart the welfare of the people above all.

    While the details of the debt ceiling deal remain fuzzy, this much is clear: Barack Obama may be president, but the Tea Party is now running Washington. – Peter Beinert

    President Obama is a weak, weak president and certainly no leader!
    Call me a “crybabie” or “whiner” its my opinion and no amount of name calling will stop me from expressing it..

  7. I’m glad nothing was resolved. The present deciders’ animosity to the working and unemployed classes makes me dam’ glad that they kicked the can down the road. If they’d resolved their mess, it would have been at the expense of people least responsible for the problems and least able to foot the bills.

  8. The myth of Obama’s “blunders” and “weakness”

    With the details of the pending debt deal now emerging (and for a very good explanation of the key terms, see this post by former Biden economic adviser Jared Bernstein), a consensus is solidifying that (1) this is a virtually full-scale victory for the GOP and defeat for the President (who all along insisted on a “balanced” approach that included tax increases), but (2) the President, as usual, was too weak in standing up to right-wing intransigence — or simply had no options given their willingness to allow default — and was thus forced into this deal against his will. This depiction of Obama as occupying a largely powerless, toothless office incapable of standing up to Congress — or, at best, that the bad outcome happened because he’s just a weak negotiator who “blundered” — is the one that is invariably trotted out to explain away most of the bad things he does.

  9. Tony, funny to me how critiques like Greenwald’s have to fear monger liberals re: Obama with specualtion that has nothing to do with what’s actually in this bill. Why we can’t evaluate Obama based upon the actual effects of this bill is beyond me, unless the motivation is simply to make stuff up in order to bash him.

  10. Ransom Paid
    by Robert Reich

    Anyone who characterizes the deal between the president, Democratic, and Republican leaders as a victory for the American people over partisanship understands neither economics nor politics.

    The deal does not raise taxes on America’s wealthy and most fortunate — who are now taking home a larger share of total income and wealth, and whose tax rates are already lower than they have been in eighty years. Yet it puts the nation’s most important safety nets and public investments on the chopping block.

  11. “Call me a “crybabie” or “whiner” its my opinion and no amount of name calling will stop me from expressing it.”

    tony, good for you. don’t ever stop expressing your own opinion. just be careful of those very talented opinion manipulators out there who divide to conquer.
    i did not mean to offend or call you any name i don’t call myself at times. i just remember how well-meaning, passionate liberals destroyed hubert humphrey, jimmy carter and similarly the clintons. good, but not perfect people with plenty of flaws and missteps.


    I agree the stuff Greenwald speculates about in this piece has nothing to do with the actual effects this deal may have on the country. I don’t think we need to make things up to bash president Obama. I hope your correct and this deal is basically harmless and a big win for Obama re-elect. The fact is your in the minority in your opinion, well based upon what i been able to read so far. I still believe it remains to be seen..

  13. Reich saying this deal “puts the nation’s most important safety nets and public investments on the chopping block” is utter nonsense. Sure, that debate is coming, but not here.

  14. Tony,

    While it is true that oh,bummer didn’t get ‘balanced’ budget balancing, the puguglicans appear to have extorted promises from a known liar.

    The only winners were the fabulists in the ‘news’ media and the companies that sponsor them.

    If oh,bummer lost, it is because he un-masked himself. oh,bummer has now revealed himself to be an enemy of old ladies who gave up careers to raise their families and keep their hubbies in clean underpants. Many such good souls may now get only $500/mo Social Security and no pension, but to oh,bummer they are still making too much money.

    I say, ‘if oh,bummer lost in this deficit drama’, because it is not at all clear that real Dems are ready to hit the streets, burn up the wires, or tweet up a revolution. The cad certainly deserves an early exit. If he gets sent to the showers, we’ll see just who the crybabies really are.

  15. “right wingers keep the fight alive in the courts”

    and this is a problem?

    Obama gets the benefit of solving the debt crises in a bold forceful manner and he gets the right wing front and center on the nightly news for weeks. Looks like a win /win.
    Only problem is you have to have big balls, which is where the idea all falls apart.


  16. I agree with Craig’s of 5:55. Not yet.

    The incumbents want to sail into 2012 on smooth waters.

    So this kabuki drama will not re-erupt until 2013, at the earliest.

  17. Pat,
    I think the president is doing a good job of destroying his self with his lack of leadership. I think liberals have carried water for this president after every betrayal and basically have went along. Just look at his latest betrayal putting SS and Medicare on the chopping block, nope that was it for me! I still would bet though most Liberals will vote Obama 2012 so nope i don’t believe liberals are destroying this president..


    Nope, nothing in this debt deal that cuts SS and Medicare ( potential proposed cuts from the new committee?)
    I’m talking about what this president proposed in his deal with Boener. It was a complete betrayal.. President Obama even said yesterday he still prefers that deal to this one. Remember he said if were going to take a big vote we need to do big things..

  19. Obama and plenty others have “said” lots of things. But I am trying my level best to stay focused on what they actually do. And none of that scary stuff ended up in what’s about to get put into law. Period.


    I say, ‘if oh,bummer lost in this deficit drama’, because it is not at all clear that real Dems are ready to hit the streets, burn up the wires, or tweet up a revolution. The cad certainly deserves an early exit. If he gets sent to the showers, we’ll see just who the crybabies really are.

    Very good post and i completely agree. I just wish he would get a primary challenge. I know the President is a cinch for the nomination but i would like to see him have to swing back center left, be forced too. I know, all the experts say he would lose the middle. Too bad, as Bill Maher said we elected a Democrat that acts like a Republican..

  21. Debt Ceiling Deal Paves Way For Potentially Historic Lobbying Campaign
    by Sam Stein

    WASHINGTON — The super committee established under the still-to-be-passed debt ceiling deal has been granted immense powers to make its recommendations law. But that doesn’t mean grand bargain of sorts is summarily off the table, even if the 12 committee members get stuck or Congress ends up rejecting their suggestions.

    According to the structure of the debt ceiling deal, lawmakers will have another year to find approximately $1.5 trillion in cuts through normal procedures, before so-called triggers go into effect to achieve those cuts on behalf of hesitant lawmakers.

    “If the committee deadlocks or they put something out that doesn’t pass Congress … before the [trigger] hit they could pass another package of equal savings,” said a White House official during a briefing on Sunday night. “So it puts pressure on people. The trigger is looming.”

  22. It doesn’t really seem like anything was accomplished except for one thing.

    It has certainly convinced those of us that can and could create jobs that we’d be idiot’s to try and grow now. The plan now should be to try and weather the coming storm. Anyone who thinks this next $2.4 trillion will be spent wisely is delusional.

    I’ve had a number of overseas opportunities that I’ve passed on but I’m thinking it may be time to reconsider.

  23. The Republicans Should Take More Hostages
    By: Jon Walker

    Finally, this debt ceiling will need to be raised again in only about 16 months. If Obama is still in office, I see no reason the Republicans won’t pull this same game again. In fact, given how well it worked this time the conservative base will demand congressional Republicans do it again. I can’t even begin to imagine what crazy new concession they will demand in this next round.

    This is not how I want my country to be run. This process of disaster legislating makes a mockery of both our Constitution and the basic principles of democracy. Yet, given that Obama’s spinelessness has allowed it to be incredibly effective I can hardly blame the Republicans for using it.

    Tragically, this will be our future as long as Obama is president. We will lurch from crisis to crisis. Each time, the GOP will use a threat to harm the economy in order to to extract massive concessions from Obama. Each time Obama will say how he had to give in but promises to really fight next time.

  24. The Diminished President

    “This leaves Americans to contemplate two possibilities more alarming than debt-ceiling brinkmanship. First, that we’re living through yet another failed presidency. And second, that there’s nobody waiting in the wings who’s up to the task either.”

  25. This too shall pass! (That’s a double entendre.) I can hardly wait to hear what the 66 Republican no voters will say now. I would think Speaker Boehner should be in trouble when he can’t even get his own Republicans to vote for his bill. What are the TP going to say? And, is Boehner in trouble?

  26. The President Surrenders

    Make no mistake about it, what we’re witnessing here is a catastrophe on multiple levels.

    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.

    In the long run, however, Democrats won’t be the only losers. What Republicans have just gotten away with calls our whole system of government into question. After all, how can American democracy work if whichever party is most prepared to be ruthless, to threaten the nation’s economic security, gets to dictate policy? And the answer is, maybe it can’t.

  27. Donna Summer: Last Dance

  28. Are we going to see the first coalition government in the United States? With the rise of Independents and TPers, there is a distinct possibility of a seismic shift in electoral politics in this country and the way it’s governed. Bring on the parliamentary system!!

  29. The progressive wing of the Democratic party might align itself with Labor. It’s worth noting that the two parties today were once one party at the beginning of the Republic when the Federalists were being challenged by Democratic Republicans like Jefferson. Then the label, Republican, was dropped until the Whigs came along after Jackson. The party of Abraham Lincoln revived the label Republican in 1856. Is this another historical moment for relabeling and realigning the political parties of this country? Just saying!!

  30. athazagoraphobia Fear of: being forgotten or ignored

    WE Lost big time…the tax payers did.! We paid them for doing nothing ( all of this time wasted, will they go on a break now and go home?) at all during all of this time…we did get to watch them on tv….that count? What went on with the rest of the country’s business…the wars, the economy etc,…..JOBS, JOBS, JOBS all of this was just a diversion imo….they both put up a good show.!!

    Whatever happened to that Liberal group that was started up…the guy that left the energy dept started it up….American…something…movement…have at least six of the liberal congressmen/women counter them in every-move….

    I’ve only done work in the past for DOD and for USAID. Both did pay as contracted. Sadly, both agencies, due to their crazy bureaucratic requirements, paid at least 30% more than a comparable commercial move of exactly the same commodities.

    What if that is the norm throughout? 30% of a 5 trillion dollar yearly expenditure…..

    Interesting huh”

    yes it is..we need to improve this waste, and improve the government…..! it back….. I think that it’s ironic that those who see government as the problem get the most out of it, and think (refer) themselves as patriots,

    Even in my family…there are cops, firemen (taxes pay their salary) that hate government….but love what it does for them..they use the medical benefits provided by the government, every time one of the children, or they get sick….they don’t like it when I remind them of this…or when I tell them to get well by praying….


    Yep, Solar,
    I say the same thing to Grace(tea party). Grace and her Husband enjoyed the fruits from NASA until recently. Damn, they loved the NASA Shuttle program. They also receive SS and Medicare as well as Tri-care for life. Oh man, they hate government though! Attend Tea Party rallies in Washington. I finally got Grace to admit she wouldn’t give up her Medicare for private insurance. 😆

  32. Ok Obummer was the big winner…why is every pundit and talking head saying he’s the biggest loser….

    Wait wait don’t tell.

    It’s because big media are big liars

  33. KO Special comment,
    “THIS DEAL IS WRONG”!! KO at one point called it an “evil transaction” very good, reminded me of the Bush years special comments.

  34. It’s because big media are big liars

    That was also in KO’s special comment..KO said there more interested in access to the special exclusive than telling the truth..

  35. Just got home from work. I gather that the deal passed in the House.
    It appears that 95 Dems. stood tall today, unfortunately the president was not among them.

    I have yet to to hear anyone declare the president a winner in this fiasco.

    Hostage takers, one, America zero.

  36. Wonder how the bill signing will be scripted.
    I don’t think that the ‘weak one’ will want a lot of cameras on hand.
    Probably a private signing and a press release.
    Anything to stay from the stink of defeat associated with this bill.

  37. My perception of President Obama has changed many times over the period of the primaries and his misbegotten presidency.I have never been able to pin him down. In the last week he has finally come into sharp focus for me. America’s Neville Chamberlain.

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