July 14, 2011 2 Comments
Okay, maybe it’s because I’m a coastal elitists, but I’ve never actually heard anyone pronounce Chutzpah as choot spa.
Politics, and lots of other stuff I find interesting
Excellent post by Nate Silver analyzing public opinion data and the positions of the key parties involved in the budget deal. He boils it down into a handy chart. Silver– quite rightly– claims that Obama has essentially adopted the position of the median Republican voter (hence, I added his name to Silver’s chart– and added a circle for me, just for fun while I was at it).
Of course, the fact that Obama is basically and the position of the typical Republican voter is further evidence of just how nuts this negotiation is. It is taking place completely on Republican turf. And, as Silver points out, Republicans in Congress are way outside the mainstream of public opinion on this.
Now consider the positions of the respective parties to the negotiation. One framework that President Obama has offered, which would reduce the debt by a reported $2 trillion, contains a mix of about 17 percent tax increases to 83 percent spending cuts. Another framework, which would aim for twice the debt reduction, has been variously reported as offering a 20-to-80 or 25-to-75 mix.
With the important caveat that the accounting on both the spending and tax sides can get tricky, this seems like an awfully good deal for Republicans. Much to the chagrin of many Democrats, the mix of spending cuts and tax increases that Mr. Obama is offering is quite close to, or perhaps even a little to the right of, what the average Republican voter wants, let alone the average American…
If we do take the Republicans’ no-new-taxes position literally, it isn’t surprising that the negotiations have broken down. Consider that, according to the Gallup poll, Republican voters want the deal to consist of 26 percent tax increases, and Democratic voters 46 percent — a gap of 20 percentage points. If Republicans in the House insist upon zero tax increases, there is a larger ideological gap between House Republicans and Republican voters [emphasis in original] than there is between Republican voters and Democratic ones.
In response to Silver’s post, Chait nicely sums up how crazy this is:
If the budget debate were a presidential election, it would be a contest between Republican Michelle Bachmann and Democrat Rick Perry.
Kevin Drum sees a dim future for Republican Majority leader (and presumed threat to Boehner’s speakership) Eric Cantor:
Here’s a prediction: when all’s said and done and the debt ceiling fight is finally over, Eric Cantor is going to be a lot further away from becoming Speaker of the House than he was six months ago. Every days he’s looking more and more like a petulant child playing media games and less and less like a principled statesman working in the best interests of the country. He thinks he’s being clever and savvy, but the rest of the country is seeing a grasping, opportunistic politician who thinks that posturing for Fox News is more important than facing up to serious problems. He’s setting his career back a decade.
Really? I disagree. Maybe “the rest of the country” sees a petulant opportunist, but among House Republican backbenchers, it strikes me that they are much more interested (and attuned to) representation by a petulant, game-playing child than a principled stateman working towards the country’s best interests.
I was listening to yesterday’s Fresh Air, “Why Prosecutors Don’t go after Wall Street” during my morning run today. I’m still not entirely sure, other than “it’s complicated,” and mostly they didn’t want to, which I read as– it’s political. It was actually pretty depressing to see how easy so many people guilty of what was obviously criminally fraudulent behavior have gotten away with it. The interview, with NYT Reporter Louise Story also discussed the strong Wall Street opposition to actually implementing the financial reforms passed last year. At one point (I’ll paraphrase here), Story basically said it’s difficult to know whether banks where fighting against this so hard because it will reduce their high profits or because they were genuinely concerned about the implementation of financial reform hurting the economy. Seriously?! Some things in life are difficult to know– this is not one of them. I hate it when journalists are so beholden to their journalistic worldview that they just can’t call a spade a spade.