Mitch McConnell, as part of his red-meat pretext for abandoning the debt ceiling hostage strategy, has accused the Obama administration of really only offering $2 billion in spending cuts: Earlier this week, I asked an administration official point blank what the cuts they were proposing as part of their so-called bipartisan deal would amount to next year. He said they amounted to about $2 billion, total. Washington will borrow $4 billion dollars today alone.
David Rogers pulls out an under-reported point about what killed the deficit bargain between President Obama and John Boehner: For many observers, tax reform remains the last, best bet — even now — to bridge the revenue differences between Republicans and Obama and craft an effective deficit-reduction package.
Chuck Todd reports that President Obama still wants to make the Grand Bargain: Boehner and Obama are, essentially, the lone voices in the room still advocating for the “grand bargain” (both believe it’ll be easier to pass, and they may have a point)... The president desperately wants the big deal. How much so? When Boehner informed the president last Saturday night that he had to publicly pull out of the “grand bargain” talks, the conversation took more than 30 minutes to wrap up.
Owner Of Killer Bear Chokes To Death On Sex Toy: An exotic-animal owner who made headlines last summer when one of his bears mauled a woman to death has died after apparently choking on a sex toy, authorities said.
-- Michele Bachmann isn’t too worried about the debt ceiling -- A look at the fiercest rivalry in Major League Soccer -- Eliot Spitzer: “If the department fails to open an immediate investigation into News Corp.'s violations of the FCPA, there will have been a major breach of enforcement at Justice” -- William Galston thinks that the sorry state of housing lies at the heart of our economic woes
Jason Horowitz reports about how Grover Norquist safeguards his no taxes pledge: The sacred texts from which Grover Norquist draws his political power are hidden in a secret fireproof safe. “I keep the originals in a vault, in case D.C. burns down,” said Norquist, referring to the pledge that his organization asks politicians to sign, vowing to “oppose any and all efforts” to raise taxes.
The overview of the Republican position right now is that the overwhelming majority of Republicans do not want to cut a deal with President Obama to reduce the deficit in return for raising the debt ceiling. They don't want this deal even if it's very friendly to their ideological position. The split is over what to do instead. The craziest House Republicans (and Mitt Romney) want to continue holding the debt ceiling hostage until Obama gives them total capitulation, like a balanced budget amendment. Mitch McConnell just wants to lift the thing and stick Democrats with the vote.
This last weekend, Ross Douthat argued that Republican intransigence on the deficit was not really evidence that the party had lost its marbles. The party, he postulated, was shrewdly attempting to maximize its leverage. Douthat's argument hinged on the premise that Republicans had to account for the fact that any budget deal would come with future tax hikes when the Bush tax cuts expire: The White House hasn’t made spending concessions just because the president wants to campaign as a deficit cutter next year.
The conservative line of the moment holds that the Republicans are the real fiscally responsible party, because President Obama’s proposed budget cuts have not come in the form of official legislation. Here’s National Review’s editorial today: House Republicans passed a budget that cuts spending, including entitlement spending, even though many Republican voters objected. President Obama, meanwhile, first proposed a budget that even Senate Democrats rejected as unserious, and then gave a speech outlining a second budget but failed to follow up by submitting an actual proposal.
This means... something. I just don't know exactly what: Since pulling the plug on the deal, Boehner has been largely silent in the meetings, leaving House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) to present details of the House’s position.