Saturday, December 1, 2012

Mitch McConnell Makes an Offer We All Can Ignore

     One important thing achieved by Obama releasing his plan-the GOP was particularly outraged that it was unhatched by Geithner but this was deliberate; it's felt that during the days when Obama was the Obama that the GOP had grown to love obstruct he gave the GOP too much facetime diminishing his stature in the talks-was that the ball is in the court of the Republicans.

      Whether or not the President's plan was "serious" it's out there. When are the Republicans going to give us theirs? They claim they've already done so but that's hardly the truth.  There are no specifics-it's like Romney's campaign all over again. They want to cut loopholes but won't say which ones, they want to cut entitlements but won't say where and for how much.

       And that's what McConnell's non-answer to the President's plan was. Just the same old tired spiel about closing loopholes and cutting unnamed entitlements.

"So this afternoon, Mitch McConnell made the most specific “fiscal cliff” offer we’ve seen thus far from Republicans. Here it is:
    In an interview in his Capitol Hill office, Mr. McConnell said if the White House agrees to changes such as higher Medicare premiums for the wealthy, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and a slowing of cost-of-living increases for programs like Social Security, Republicans would agree to include more tax revenue in the deal, though not from higher tax rates. [...]
    Mr. McConnell offered his ideas as examples of the structural changes Republicans are looking for. “The nexus for us is: revenue equals genuine entitlement eligibility changes,” Mr. McConnell said.

     "McConnell’s offer is this: We’ll give you increased revenues via the closing of loopholes—and in exchange, you give us the entitlement reforms we want, plus the tax rates we want."

               "That’s not much of a compromise. Indeed, it’s not new. As Steve Benen noted recently, that essential arrangement is what Lindsey Graham offered last Sunday."

     "What is funny is that McConnell actually thinks what he wants matters. It doesn’t, because whatever Obama can negotiate with the House will pass the Senate, no matter what Mitch wants."

      That's a good point. McConnell does still delude himself that the old rules still apply when they don't.  Obama doesn't negotiate with himself anymore and McConnell has no leverage.

         What I think McConnell is really after, however, is a sad attempt to pretend that he's relevant. This is what all the Republicans are trying to do. Their strategy is basically this at this point.

          1). They want to get Obama  and their to do their dirty work for them and call for specific cuts to Medicare. That's not going to happen.

          2). They want to talk a big game to save face and convince the base that they're fighting very hard, albeit also very futilely.

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