Friday, July 19, 2013

Will Obama cave to Republican demands on fiscal deal?

By Michael J.W. Stickings

The other day, National Journal ran an article entitled "Republicans, White House in Talks Toward Big Fiscal Deal":

At least a dozen Republican senators are regularly meeting with President Obama's top aides in an attempt to plot a way forward on the looming fiscal challenges facing leaders this fall, senators involved in the meetings tell National Journal.

The meetings, which began after Obama hosted GOP senators for dinner earlier this year, are the first sign that Democrats and Republicans are in talks to strike a deal that would reduce the deficit and reform entitlements and taxes.

Now, let's not get ahead of ourselves. There's no deal in sight: "The talks are, as McCain put it, still in the 'embryonic stage' and so far have consisted of identifying the dividing lines between the two sides." Furthermore, "[t]he differences between the two sides... remain vast."

Suffice it to say, though, this is all rather concerning.

First, there are no Democrats to be seen, at least in this piece. It's the White House and Congressional Republicans doing the talking.

Second, if the point is to establish the dividing lines and to find agreement in between the White House on one side and Republicans on the other, the result will be a deal that is somewhere on the center-right: tax revenue the Republicans agree to along with entitlement and tax "reform" (with Obama having put entitlements on the table, and any such deal securing Republicans an historic victory in their quest to dismantle the social safety net) the Republicans demand.

Meanwhile, we see yet again what the president thinks of progressives, and of the vast majority of his own party -- he wants to cut a deal with Republicans, moving to the right in the process, everything to the left of his establishment centrism be damned.

Of course, the House likely won't agree to any of this. So there's that, for better and for worse.

(By the way, the answer to the title of this post is: Yes, probably.)

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