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View Diary: Maneuvering in the middle on fiscal cliff is still veering too far right (189 comments)

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  •  Can we just stop quoting the stupid rumormongers (11+ / 0-)

    Every actual Obama statement said that the Bush tax cuts on the rich will end, 100%, on Dec 31st and no deal is acceptable without that.

    Everyone who says otherwise is a person just making shit up out of their own wishful thinking.  Yes, I include Ezra Klein and his unnamed "sources".

    Given that both Pelosi and Reed have come out 100% against not touching the Medicare eligibility, they can kill it even if Obama pretends to support it.  But again, Obama has made no actual statement post-election (or really since the 2011 debt ceiling talks) about doing ANYTHING to medicare benefits AT ALL.

    100% of his actual proposed reforms have been on the PROVIDER side, similar to the ACA savings.

    I swear to god, this community freaks out way too easily on rumors.  It isn't quite as bad as the Firedoglake "Obama is a Manchurian Candidate that wants to gut SS and Medicare" meme that is every other comment on that site, but it's bad enough.

    If Obama ACTUALLY proposes lower tax rates IN PUBLIC or ACTUALLY proposes changes to medicare BENEFITS  for real IN PUBLIC, then we can freak out.  And even then Obama doesn't matter unless he gets Pelosi and Reed on board.

    For now can we try to take the man at his word?  Please?

    •  You don't get it (5+ / 0-)

      Ezra isn't making this up. He wouldn't do that. His career would be ruined if he did. He got it from WH sources. Of that I have zero doubt. The real question is whether these are serious offers, or trial balloons/head fakes. You can't assume that every time an administration leaks something, it's sincere about it. Leaks are political tactics that make or may not reflect true intent. See my comment below.

      "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

      by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:51:24 AM PST

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      •  I do not share the confidence you have in Ezra. (4+ / 0-)

        His career would not end if he were wrong.  Hell, he hawked the invasion of Iraq and it paid off for him in a big way.  The plain truth is we don't know.

        In addition, whether this is "on the table or not," there should be loud opposition to it.   Slinkerwink had a good diary yesterday exhorting people to do just that.  

        Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

        by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 07:56:23 AM PST

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        •  Which I have been doing too (1+ / 0-)
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          I got into a bunch of contentious discussions here the other day about this leaked deal, which I said was stupid, unnecessary and self-defeating.

          But I simply don't believe that Ezra is making this up. They may be using him, and he may know this and be letting himself be used, but that he got this from credible sources who were instructed to do this from the very top I have zero doubt on. Obama's running a much tighter ship now and it makes no sense that someone like Ezra would be making this up, or that some unauthorized person was using him to push their unauthorized agenda. He's not stupid and surely verified this before going public with it.

          There's something going on here. What it is ain't exactly clear.

          As for Iraq, it didn't require one to lie to support it at the time, merely to claim that one believed in lies that millions of people believed in at the time. This may have made him foolish, or, if he knew these to be lies at the time, craven, but it's not the same as pretending to have heard something from a trusted WH source. Even the most dishonest beltway hack would have their career ruined if they lied that egregiously because even the most craven politicians could no longer trust them to lie for them when they needed them to.

          Nearly everyone lies in politics, but very few can afford to do it on their own.

          Oh, and btw, if this was a trial balloon/head fake by Obama, for it to work, we have to play our "bad cop" part, whether we believe it to be a sincere offer or a negotiating ruse. Didn't you know that that's how 11D chess works?

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:11:04 AM PST

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          •  Upping the age of medicare (0+ / 0-)

            does not really save that much money and it likely would shift costs to Obamacare for some.  I do not see the logic in doing that, even as part of a deal.  We'll see.  I will be surprised if it is in any deal, but I've been surprised before.  

            I think there will be no deal.  But as I said, I've been surprised before.  

            Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

            by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:16:46 AM PST

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            •  I didn't say that Obama WILL do this (2+ / 0-)
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              TomP, slinkerwink

              As it would be profoundly stupid on both a policy and politics level. I didn't even say that Obama has SAID that he'll do this, which he has not AFAIK. All we have now is a single leak to a single reporter (even Chait hasn't reported so much as weighed in on it). Which is what makes me suspect it's a ruse.

              I hope Repubs don't read this blog!

              "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

              by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:19:51 AM PST

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              •  On some of this, you just never know what (0+ / 0-)

                is really going on.  Ezra could have gotten a WH leak, but people leak for many reasons.  One reason could be to create the very uproar of opposition so as to say, I can't put that in any deal.  Another could be to soften people for it.  We just don't know.   But it does not hurt to raise hell and oppose.  :-)

                Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

                by TomP on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:22:13 AM PST

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                •  Or, to guage response to it (1+ / 0-)
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                  to help decide whether to do it or not. Or all of the above. But it's hard for me to believe that someone like Ezra could report such a huge thing if he wasn't sure it was coming from credible sources and not some rogue on their way out the door. He almost seemed to be struggling to contain an "I know something you don't but can't tell you what it is" smile when he reported this, like it wasn't to be taken at face value by those who know how leaks work.

                  But whether this was 11DC or yet more stupid politics, our response has to be the same, of course: No freaking way!

                  "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                  by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:26:29 AM PST

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      •  Since when has being wrong ruined a DC pundit's (3+ / 0-)
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        RadGal70, pamelabrown, askew

        career? I don't think he's making it up per say but I do think a lot of this is speculation by DC insiders. The whole raising rates but not to 39.5% seems impossible to me since it's the only option that requires Republicans to vote for a tax hike explicitly. I think this option is most likely being pushed for by corporate Democrats.

        Let's not let 2014 be anything like 2010. Republicans only win when we stay home!

        by Tim D M on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:23:18 AM PST

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        •  There's a difference between being wrong (0+ / 0-)

          in the sense of being a foolish analyst or prognosticator, or letting oneself be unwittingly used by some self-interested player without first checking them out--let alone passing on information that may be "wrong" but which you know for sure was ok'd from on high--and being wrong by making stuff up. Ezra may well have been wrong on all the former counts, but I seriously doubt that he's wrong in the latter sense. That's grounds for having one's career ended.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 08:30:50 AM PST

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      •  Number one (2+ / 0-)
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        askew, jim bow

        Pundits are wrong all the fucking time.   Even if you think he's being honest, he's really not shown any better track record of prediction than the average commenter on these boards.

        Number two
        Leaks that Ezra may feel are credible are still not Obama, Reed or Pelosi.   They could have a lot of motivations for leaking this (wishful thinking, desire to pressure Obama, sour grapes, hell or outright lying about things they're ignorant of to make themselves seem "in the know")

        Number three
        without support from Reed, Pelosi and Obama, no deal is going to happen.  A random whitehouse staffer isn't going to speak for all of them, not even a trial baloon.

        Number four
        From all accounts (journalists, staffers, his wife), every major decision Obama has made involves him taking all input and then going off into the quiet of the night to think about it.  Then often coming back with a decision that isn't what everyone thought it was going to be.

        Number five
        Every single discussion after the closed door talks comes back with "the lines of communication are still open" kind of crap.  Which means "both sides talked past each other, and found little if anything to agree on".

        I don't believe it.  It just doesn't have the same feel at all as the talks did in the pre-Occupy days when it seemed like the only possible common ground Obama might have with republicans was deficit reduction.

        Right now, Obama knows he doesn't really have any common ground there anymore.  There hasn't been a single serious Republican proposal yet in public, and he has drawn two lines in the sand in public that have never been refuted in public (only in rumors and speculation)

        1.  The Bush tax cuts over 250k are going to be a memory after 31-Dec-2012.
        2.  The Republicans have to specify what they want to cut....both in spending and in "tax loopholes"

        Absent the R's agreeing to do #1 and proposing something specific on #2, he's going to let the cliff happen.

        •  Please, you're hurting my brain (0+ / 0-)

          You're actually suggesting that Ezra lied, or was lied to by some mid-level WH rogue whose word he took for high-level thinking? Come on, he's not that stupid. You can believe what you want but it's not consistent with how things work in DC.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:22:42 PM PST

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      •  That's pathetic. Of course, he'd exaggerate what (1+ / 0-)
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        jim bow

        a source told him. It's amazing how easily people will buy any anti-Obama story.  The same people who pride themselves on not trusting politicians are the same people who lap up any unsourced rumor pushed in the media.

        President Obama at Madison Rally 9/28/2010 - "Change is not a spectator sport."

        by askew on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 10:56:27 AM PST

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        •  What's amazing (0+ / 0-)

          is how you have consistently, almost without exception, refused to believe any story that casts Obama in a poor light. Such a track record speaks for itself.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 01:23:24 PM PST

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    •  I will take Obama at his word (1+ / 0-)
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      For now can we try to take the man at his word?  Please?
      I take him at his word when he said during a debate that his and Mitt's plans for social security did not differ.

      I take him at his word when this was proposed in July, 2011:

      Details of the plan were not yet finalized before the Obama-Boehner talks collapsed on Friday. But in general, the agreement called for very gradually increasing the eligibility age from 65 to 67 over about two decades, according to administration and Republican congressional sources.

      One pathway would call for increasing the age by one month per year beginning in 2017 until it reached 66 in 2029. In 2030, it would increase two months per year until it hit 67.
      •  It is not July 2011 anymore (0+ / 0-)

        The debt ceiling isn't in this discussion, except to force votes on eliminating it entirely.

        There is no presidential election to worry about anymore

        The most recent election was a referendum on raising taxes on the rich and not doing the Ryan plan and Obama won it.  (as opposed to 2010, which seemed to be a referendum on wanting to do austerity in this country)

        Obama has seen that his party and himself get zero credit for being "adults in the room" and all the blame for any failures to negotiate.  He's also seen that the Rs can't hold the House caucus together.   Look at how differently he's negotiating the cuts this time...he's making the Rs do the specification instead of proposing any.

        Finally, Obama gets a crapload of revenue by doing nothing at all, as opposed to the July 2011 situation of doing nothing either defaults on our debt or causes a constitutional crisis.  Not to mention weaker R control in the house and stronger D control in the Senate.

        So lets get over what happened in 2011.  The situation is not at all the same, and Obama also isn't the same person he was then.   Lets focus on how he is negotiating TODAY.

        Oh and finally...from your own quote "DETAILS OF THE PLAN WERE NOT YET FINALIZED".  Which means anything that was released was again wishful thinking even then.   There were "pathways" but O never actually signed off on any of it (and for that matter, neither did Pelosi or Reed).     Because the R's can't keep their caucus together, they need Dem votes in the house to pass any deal, and they need Reed to bring it to a vote AND they need Obama to not veto it.

        As for social security?  The most likely path to strengthen it forever would be to just lift the payroll cap.  That action would likely also count as revenue for avoiding the sequester.   I don't see it happening, but if I was Obama I'd keep putting it on the table.

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