Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Glorious Super Deal That Never Was

As atrios says, the fact that people in the White House were dumb enough to think the politics of a huge austerity deal would be good is more troubling than almost anything else:
For most of this year, the White House has thought that the surest path to President Obama’s reelection was to strike a big deficit deal with Republicans, or at least be seen trying to strike a big deficit deal with Republicans. The debt-ceiling debacle proved it wrong. The White House was unable to reach an agreement, and the sorry sight of its ineffectual efforts led it to sink in the polls. Since then, it has moved toward a more confrontational stance with the GOP, and has seen its poll numbers tick up slightly. So White House officials do not consider a supercommittee deal crucial to their chances. Perhaps that’s for the best, as the Democrats on the supercommittee think it would be harder to secure Republican support for a deal if the White House were more involved.
It's hard to conceive how they thought that would be smart politically. I know I rant about this a lot, but it really was incredibly stupid, and that needs to be pointed out.

Even if you think talking about the deficit is smart, it really hammers home that many people in the administration have simply no clue about the political climate we live in. Facts don't matter. Actually doing something to show you "care about the deficit" doesn't matter. Republicans don't care about the deficit in the slightest, yet they run on it every year. Why does it work? Because the one party has realized that the press isn't doing their job and are taking advantage.

Does this mean our side should lie like they do? Of course not. But it does mean that we should spend less time worrying about showing we're serious about the deficit, showing we're strong on national security/illegal immigration, arbitrary figures for the cost of policies (stimulus/healthcare) and so on. They're gonna say you're a gay Muslim Mexican loving tax and spend democrat no matter what you do. You might as well focus on getting the policy right. There are no bonus points for fawning David Brooks columns.

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