This is what happens when you supposedly represent the interests of working people but are too timid, dishonest or stupid to fight for those interests:
Republicans are poised to reject a White House offer, TPM has learned, that would cut over $30 billion in current spending because of disagreements over whether the package should include cuts to mandatory spending programs. Democrats are pushing for such cuts, which include the big entitlement programs, though the specific cuts they’re proposing remain unclear. In an ironic twist, Republicans oppose those cuts and want to limit the negotiations to non-defense discretionary spending, a smaller subset of the federal budget.
I’m betting timidity and dishonesty are closely linked in this case. It’s been obvious since last summer that Barack Obama and leaders of the (at that time) heavily Democratic Congress were gearing up to give away the store in the hope of appeasing fiscal conservatives. You have to wonder, as firedoglake does, whether the D.C. Dems, especially Obama, were ever serious about jump-starting the sort of economic recovery that would benefit working people as opposed to corporations and big banks:
There’s no question that Republicans played the “Bad Cop, Insane Cop” game very expertly. But it was apparent from the moment that Democrats allowed the 2011 budget to be decided on the watch of the new Republican House that there would be a massive reduction like this. They failed to finish a 2011 budget resolution as part of the deal for extending the Bush tax cuts for two years. They failed to incorporate an increase in the debt limit into that as well. As a result, they forced themselves to negotiate with a bad hand. And they’re not the best negotiators in the first place.
The result is a series of immediate cuts when the recovery remains fragile. Furthermore all of those cuts will hit the relatively shallow non-discretionary non-security slice of the budget, magnifying the impact on Americans who receive services from that.
Or were the Dems merely outmaneuvered, which would put them in the “stupid” category? Two years ago, no one would have guessed that Mitch McConnell and John Boehner and the other uglies would turn out to be more clever than Barack Obama. Harry Reid, maybe, but not Obama.
The Dems, essentially declaring defeat, have conceded $30 billion in spending cuts even before the serious fighting has begun. Now the only question is how much more badly they will be defeated by the time the battle is over.
And don’t count on the Dems scoring a public relations victory if the uglies shut down the government. Given their track record, they’re more likely to find a way to end up looking like the bad guys.