President Obama offered a "grand bargain" yesterday, and although it wasn't particularly grand, it was a bargain: Republicans would get a lowering of the corporate income tax rate, something they've wanted for a long time, and Democrats would get some new investments in infrastructure, job training, and education. Inevitably, Republicans rejected it out of hand. "It's just a further-left version of a widely panned plan he already proposed two years ago, this time with extra goodies for tax-and-spend liberals," said Mitch McConnell. At this point, Obama could offer to close the E.P.A., eliminate all inheritance taxes, and rename our nation's capital "Reagan, D.C." if Republicans would also agree to give one poor child a sandwich, and they'd say no, because that would be too much big government.
Just as inevitably, in-the-know politicos are wondering, why does he bother with this stuff if he knows what the result will be? Didn't we get enough of this I'm-the-reasonable-one-here-even-if-it-doesn't-produce-anything posturing in his first term? What's the point?
That's not an unreasonable question to ask. But the better question is: As opposed to what?