Heads I Win, Tails You Lose

Since President Obama unveiled his proposal for the fiscal cliff last week, Republicans have been complaining that it’s nothing new. “After the election, I offered to speed this up by putting revenue on the table and unfortunately, the White House responded with their la-la land offer that couldn’t pass the House, couldn’t pass the Senate, and it was basically the president’s budget from last February,” House Majority Leader John Boehner told reporters this afternoon.

As such, there’s been some anticipation about what Republicans would offer. If the GOP is so opposed to old ideas, then surely they’d come up with something new and exciting to break the impasse over the fiscal cliff?


To be fair, House Republicans haven’t actually offered anything yet—instead, they’ve presented an earlier House budget bill as what they would offer if they took the White House proposal seriously. This of course flies in the face of Boehner’s disdain for “old” policies, but at this point there’s no use in keeping track of Republican reversals on policy.

With that said, is there anything promising in Boehner’s “counteroffer?”

Unfortunately, no. Not only do Republicans want to keep all of the Bush tax cuts; they propose raising $800 billion in revenue through closing loopholes. They also want to cut $600 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, in addition to $300 billion from overall discretionary spending. And this is on top of the $1 trillion in spending cuts the White House already agreed to in a previous deal.

In other words, despite failing to win the Senate or take the White House, Republicans insist on playing a "heads I win, tails you lose" game. Which is to say that, at this point, Republicans have not begun to negotiate over the fiscal cliff. Instead, they’re still complaining and hoping that the Obama of 2012 will following the example of last year’s Obama and concede to what they want.

Judging from the president’s rhetoric, they’re bound to be disappointed.


So They Say

“Gotta go. Thx. Keep pressure on Congress. Call, email, tweet your Member & tell them what 2k means to you. Lets get it done. #my2k  -bo

—Barack Obama, signing off from a Twitter Q&A on the fiscal cliff (and the Chicago Bears) this afternoon

Daily Meme: Lemon. Wet. Not Good.

  • Mitt Romney has had a bad month. He's unemployed, and the one job he applied for and desperately wanted ... well, human resources didn't think he fit the description.
  • People are starting to feel bad for his eating-Big Macs-alone, pumping-gas-alone, biking-alone ways. 
  • It doesn't stop there. The Romney clan was forced to order in Thanksgiving from Boston Market, because all those gosh darn kids, while incredibly useful during the Romney Olympics, get in the way when it's time to roast a turkey.
  • A sad day of thanks probably made worse by the fact he also got to taste the sweet, sweet turkey he could have had if he were president during a lunch over chili at the White House. 
  • On another culinary, but still depressing, note, he no longer has an aide to whip up his peanut butter and honey sandwiches, which Matt Yglesias says is a perfect opportunity for a self-proclaimed job god to get 'a-hiring.
  • It doesn't help that people won't stop talking about the election—especially the 47 percent video. 
  • But is Mitt bitter? Bitterness "is not in the Romney genetic code."
  • One thing Romney's excited not to have to worry about? Fixing the Republican Party, which is "convenient for everyone involved, since the Republican Party's 'rebranding' effort so far seems to consist solely of distancing itself from Mitt."
  • Some people are tired of the moping, not just from Mitt Romney, but from his supporters too. To wit, a letter to the editor in Pennsylvania:  "Get over it, Mitt Romney supporters. If you don't like it in the United States, then leave."
  • In case you're still feeling sorry for him, Jamelle Bouie has something to add: "If Romney had run a more inclusive campaign—one that didn’t dismiss half the country as 'takers'—then maybe he’d be measuring the drapes in the Oval Office and not figuring out what to do with his downtime in La Jolla."

What We're Writing

  • Robert Kuttner says that we need an economic solution that helps the young and the elderly. And yes, one exists.
  • Jamelle Bouie doesn't get why we're refighting the battle over women's rights that we had over half a century ago.


What We're Reading

  • Molly Ball explains how Democrats won at super PACs this election cycle.
  • Elizabeth Kolbert asks: Is a carbon tax the solution to all Washington's ills?
  • Andy Kroll lists the least horrible super PACs of 2012. 
  • The total price tag on Sheldon Adelson's unremarkable foray into electoral politics this year? $150 million.
  • 2016 candidates are already getting cozy with potential backers.
  • Speaking of 2016, is Bobby Jindal cool again?


Poll of the Day

There's nothing new about the American public hating on Congress. Approval ratings for that once-hallowed body have stunk for years. But according to a new Gallup poll, things might have reached a new low. When Gallup asked about the ethical standards of people from various professions, only 10 percent said Congress had "very high/high" levels of honesty, ranking just above car salespeople at 8 percent. And 54 percent of those polled said members of Congress had low honesty and bad ethics, trumping even stockbrokers and advertising practitioners.

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