Who Blinked?

When I went to bed last night the shutdown was still looming. I can’t think of when I’ve seen the word “loom” used in so many headlines at once, in fact. So today I see there is a deal. So who blinked?

The short answer is “everyone,” since Dems already had given away a lot more than they should have. But I see this morning that the loony wing of the loony party is angry about the deal and threatening to vote against it, which is a relief. If the baggers don’t like the final bill, it can’t be a total disaster.

Funding for Planned Parenthood is preserved, and they’re angry, because punishing Planned Parenthood for performing abortions is more important to them than running the federal government. NPR and PBS were spared. I see also that the incredibly childish rider that would have blocked the Environmental Protection Agency from actually protecting the environment is out. The Dems have agreed to funding a study that would look at the economic impact of environmental regulations. I hope this study also looks at the economic impact of no environmental regulations, which I suspect would be much higher, long term.

NPR reports that the President has been more involved in the budget process than he appeared to be.

In public, Obama tried to keep it at arm’s length.

“I shouldn’t have to oversee a process in which Congress deals with last year’s budget,” Obama said as the time got short this week.

But in fact he was involved up to his neck.

It was Obama’s veto threat that made clear he would not accept the scope of spending cuts Republicans wanted. It was Obama who said he would accept no more short-term bills to keep the government afloat for a couple weeks at a time unless there was a broader deal in hand. And it was Obama who kept saying it was time for leaders to act like grown-ups.

The White House said his strategy was to stay behind the scenes, work the phones and let his senior aides do the negotiating. That hard-to-see engagement provided a huge opening for Republicans to question his leadership. And it led to rumblings from frustrated lawmakers in his own Democratic Party who wanted Obama to openly attack the cuts Republicans wanted.

I don’t think this is the smartest strategy politically, since it plays into the perception that the President is not really in charge of anything. But that’s what they’re doing.

14 thoughts on “Who Blinked?

  1. I suspected the President was highly involved, in spite of all the talk to the contrary. I am, at least temporarily, relieved at the results. May I say, “Yay!”?

  2. While I’m happy for people whose salaries depend on the Government staying open, I’m disappointed by how much the Democrats did give away.

    I’m not sure it was that necessary. Here’s what I thought about this morning:
    I think the Oligarchs told Boner to reign in his clowns and herd them into the clown car NOW, or else they’d lose money in the shutdown, and after the shutdown, because they’re making a nice chunk of money on the “recovery’ – which is a recovery only for them, and not for us.
    And so, Boehner got enough Republicans to get it through, and will worry about the repercussions from the Teabaggers later. He had to get this budget through to satisfy the oligarchy. And I think the Oligarchs will now start to take a serious look at what to do with, not those Teabaggers who threaten to leave the reservation, but what to do if there are enough of them to hurt the finances of the reservation.

    They know they can count on the Democrats to always, always, capitulate. After all, that’s what they pay them for.

    The Oligarch’s are the only reason I see the debt ceiling fight being little more than Kabuki. As much as some of these Teabagging lunatics may want to see what happens, and let the nation and the people suffer the consequences, the Oligarchs have too much to lose.
    With the Teafelcher’s being a concern not just to the Republicans, but to the Oligarchs, I think that is one of the reasons Beck had to go bye-bye. With him out of the picture as a major, in-your-face player, they think the insane clown posse of voters may be easier to infulence.
    And who’s to say they won’t be. The Koch Brothers are a huge part of the oligarchy, and, without organizers, buses, signs, and financial support, the Teabaggers may be allowed to wither on the vine.
    The “Privatizing Ryan” plan is something that of course the oligarchy would support. But, they need it to be incorporated on a timely basis. And that’s what their effort will be – in the future. With the A-hole Simpleton/Festering Boils plan the fall back in the meantime.
    So the shutdown had to be prevented, as will the fight over the debt ceiling – they were/are too unscripted, and unfinanced at this time. After more recovery, the saving will be sufficient for theatre, and they may let the game proceed. Until then, Kabuki is fine – as long as when the show ends, there’s been no affect on the bottom line.

    That’s what I was thinking about this morning.
    And no, I wasn’t drinking.
    Hmmm, maybe it was a flashback of some acid I found from early in the early Nison Adminstration, and took early in the first Reagan Administration, that’s now haunting me early in the first Obama Adminstration.

  3. The funniest word I read was “grueling”. If that’s not an absolute joke to describe the negotiations.. It was pure theater and game playing with no concern for what needs to be done to get our country on track. I’m becoming god like in the sense that I could see the end from the beginning… and this whole episode in responsible governing was every bit of the circus that I had foreseen from it’s inception.

    I have an overwhelming sense of “why bother?”. It’s plain discouraging to watch these episodes of Clownsville, USA and think what it might be like if we had some men and women in Congress with character and integrity who would cleave with sincerity to the mandate of promoting the general welfare.

  4. There are tens of millions of working people in this country who’d like to show those goofs what a grueling day’s work really feels like. And tens of millions more, looking for work, who could demonstrate even more grueling days. Gah.

  5. For decades, the results of bi-partisan budget negotiations have preserved the ‘safety net’ programs. This has fueled institutional voter apathy, justified by the cynical claim that under the surface, both parties are the same. At the risk of being very cynical myself, I hope the programs that are cut create the maximum uncertainty, anxiety and even panic among the poorest demographic groups.

    I was young, but I remember the voter registration drives in the South in the late 60s. People were galvanized into a movement which could not be denied. We need it again. It’s not just about maintaining welfare and Medicaid. It’s about funding education and creating a job base for the next generation that doesn’t exist.

    Who blinked? If the attempted extortion to gut EPA regulation of greenhouse gases failed, they blinked. If the attempt to defund Public broaadcasting failed, they blinked. If the attack on Planned Parenthood failed, they blinked. If they feared a voter backlash so much thaat they abandoned the social agends riders, they blinked. I only hope the cuts are deep enough to scare the piss out of eligible voters who have been on the sidelines.

    Along the same lines, the DETAILS of the Ryan plan needs to stay front-and-center in discussions, particularly more tax cuts for the rich and Medicare cuts and the uncertainty of privatization. Conservatives will want to put a halo on that pile of teabags and NOT let seniors realize the true impact until it’s too late..

    (Definition of too late : after a balanced budget amendment makes. Tax cuts irrevocable. )

    This was a victory, but it’s not a movement – yet. If the Tea Party will continue to antagonize the sleeping tiger, she may wake up. Rich people are smart and organized, but there are more poor people. We progressives haven’t been able to motivate or educate the apathetic masses. Maybe the TP can!

  6. I found this entire situation very frustrating because I live in a state where all my Congressional Senators and Reps were not part of the barking crazy crowd. Before I retired, the same was true when I lived in Maryland. Maryland’s Senators and the Rep from my District were normally voting in a manner that supported the country and the people of the United States. They even voted against the war in Iraq. So, I am now retired in the great State of Washington and find, again, all my Congressional Senators and Reps are sane and thoughtful people. However, I did call Patty Murray’s office yesterday just to tell whoever I talked to that I expected her to stand firm. And, she did. She even made a great statement about the “war on women” that the Republicans were waging. To all the young women out there, please remember which party supports women (Democratic) and which party hates women (Republicans) for the future because your future will depend on it.

  7. Who knew that the Republicans are aiding and abetting 911 terrorist Osama Bin Laden.

    Over coffee this morning I recalled that a few years ago Bin Laden stated his goal was to bankrupt the USA. If there is a coming show-down over the debt limit in May which ends badly it could be the final nail in the US economic coffin after all the trillions spent on endless war since Clinton left office. I did a google search and sure enough found this:

    Monday, November 1, 2004 Posted: 8:07 PM EST — -(CNN) — The Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera released a full transcript Monday of the most recent videotape from Osama bin Laden in which the head of al Qaeda said his group’s goal is to force America into bankruptcy.

    Al-Jazeera aired portions of the videotape Friday but released the full transcript of the entire tape on its Web site Monday.

    “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Allah,” bin Laden said in the transcript.

    He said the mujahedeen fighters did the same thing to the Soviet Union in Afghanistan in the 1980s, “using guerrilla warfare and the war of attrition to fight tyrannical superpowers.”

    “We, alongside the mujahedeen, bled Russia for 10 years until it went bankrupt and was forced to withdraw in defeat,” bin Laden said.

    He also said al Qaeda has found it “easy for us to provoke and bait this administration.”

  8. I should have added the money quote is this:

    “We are continuing this policy in bleeding America to the point of bankruptcy. Allah willing, and nothing is too great for Alla.,”

  9. This process has been very discouraging. A little skirmsh over a budget for the second half of 2011 (where were democrats last fall when a budget should have been passed?) was not nearly as contentious as the debt ceiling and the 2012 budget battles will be. Obama will really have to show whether he has any leadership ability.

  10. Steve from Canuckistan (is that Canada?) you have ‘discovered’ the game plan of binLaden, and any/all serious terrorists. Take REVENGE (9/11); pray for massive RETALIATION (two full-scale wars); sit back and reap the benefits of RENOWN, which will guarantee you more and more recruits eager to share in your new-found fame. (And, as an added attraction, watch your patsy/victim collapse into economic chaos.)

  11. Felicity, yes, as per Pat Buchanan, Canada is AKA Canuckistan. Pat had a fit one day several years ago on one of the cable News channels as he theorized Canada was the source for the 911 attackers despite all evidence to the contrary. Actually I think it was the success of our multicultural society and low crime rates that he was peeved at.

  12. Steve,
    That, and the fact the the Canadians didn’t harbor any of his Nazi buddies after WWII.

  13. Steve, speaking of Buchanan he was recently asked to elaborate on why he thought the richest among us should have their taxes reduced. He replied, “Because they will spend the money wisely.” And that neatly sums up how Republicans feel about Republicans – moral, wise, prudent, honest, smart, protestant…And Democrats – amoral, foolish, profligate, crooked, dumb and anything-but-practicing-protestants.

    • He replied, “Because they will spend the money wisely.”

      Like those prudent and thrifty folks who ran Bear Sterns and Lehman Brothers, I assume.

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