Scarcely a week ago, a round of the tense negotiations over raising the $14.3 trillion debt limit at the White House ended when President Obama stormed out of the meeting with a stern warning to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R.,Va.): “Don’t call my bluff.” Well, on Sunday evening, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R., Ky.) did just that: He called the President’s bluff. And Obama folded like a cheap suit.
Just six months ago, the Democrats were pushing hard to repeal the Bush tax cuts, increase the debt limit, and impose additional “revenues” on the American taxpayer. The Republican dream of a balanced budget amendment was a dead issue. And last week, E. J. Dionne was writing in the Courier-Journal about “The Death of the Tea Party.”
But Sunday night, the final Texas Hold’em showdown had President Obama and his minions losing. In spades. And rumors of the death of the Tea Party appear to be greatly exaggerated.
Basically, the Democrats gave up the following:
- Immediate cut of $1 trillion in government spending over a 10-year period
- Increase in debt ceiling, by $900 billion
- Creation of a bi-partisan committee to come up with additional cuts worth at least $1.5 trillion to be voted on by the end of the year
- Another $1.5 trillion increase in debt ceiling, if the committee recommendations are approved
- If bi-partisan committee fails to make additional cuts, automatic spending cuts would be applied across government to trim spending by $1.2 trillion
- Social Security, Medicaid and veterans' benefits would be exempt from the automatic cuts, but payments to doctors, nursing homes and other Medicare providers could be cut
- No new taxes
- Guaranteed up or down vote in both houses of congress on a balanced budget amendment
Rather than admitting that he had been bested by the Republicans, Obama rushed to jump in front of a television camera; just as soon as he understood that congressional leaders were not going to let him interfere with this latest compromise deal. Feebly attempting to put a positive spin on his failures, he announced that leaders of both parties in both chambers were able to reach an agreement on a debt-reduction deal that will "lift the cloud of uncertainty that hangs over our economy" and prevent the nation from potentially defaulting on the nation's financial obligations.
Of course our leftist “spread the wealth around” president cannot give even a short speech without tossing a little class-warfare red meat to his progressive base. Clearly embarrassed by the fact that he had been out-negotiated by Sen. McConnell and Speaker Boehner, he whined: “Despite what some Republicans have argued, I believe that we have to ask the wealthiest Americans and biggest corporations to pay their fair share by giving up tax breaks and special deductions.” And, as is his habit, he again failed to enumerate any of these horrific “tax breaks and special deductions.”
That this 11th-hour deal was a major victory for Kentucky’s senior senator is without question. Even the liberal Washington Post recognized that “The political stakes for this fight were massive — and it produced a number of winners and losers.” And who did the WaPo list as the big winner? Senator Mitch McConnell: “He waited until the game was in its final moments, came onto the field and helped close things down (in a good way). McConnell was also a voice of reason and frankness for Republicans, making clear that default would be a huge political loser for the party. In the end, he got a deal the way he wanted one — with him at the center of negotiations.”
With no small amount of schadenfreude, we can all look forward to watching as the leftist press starts dumping on Obama. Writing in the New York Times (to be published Monday) Nobel laureate—and former Enron advisor—Paul Krugman penned an op-ed titled, “The President Surrenders.” “Make no mistake about it,” writes Krugman, “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.”
Obama Announces Debt Limit Deal