Rybak blogs, White House touts, deal frays, who’s got leverage?

As I mentioned yesterday, Mpls. Mayor R.T. Rybak enthusiastically supports the “framework” compromise between Pres. Obama and the Repubs. He followed up our chat with a post on his own blog  making the same arguments (Obama is keeping his core commitments) and adds a list of Obama’s accomplishments to date.

The White House, which is in awkward semi-campaign mode for the deal that it sort of hates, has been releasing a stream of endorsements from elected officials (mostly, but not all, Democratic mayors and governors) and today that put out a press release linking to Rybak.

Meanwhile, as MinnPost’s Washington guy Derek Wallbank noted a few hours ago, the deal may be falling apart for lack of support from Democrats. The House Dem caucus has voted not to bring the deal up for a vote (and, for a few more weeks, the Dems control what comes to a vote in the House). Some Dem House members actually started a chant of “Just Say No!” during the meeting.

That vote could be a big development. The House Dems say they want changes in the deal. I have no idea whether they can get them, but the implicit threat is that if they can’t get satisfactory changes they will block the deal, the tax cuts (and unemployment benefits) will expire and the parties will go to the political trenches to blame one another.

I have previously argued that the Dems should be able to win that argument. Obama (and Rybak) have argued that tax cuts for the middle class and benefits for the unemployed should not be held hostage to politics.

Most of those lefties who denounce the deal, denounce it on its merits (this Robert Reich blogpost calls the deal an “abomination,” which I call strong language). But I’ve seen less discussion of how the Dems, or the middle class, or the unemployed, come out ahead on the next round of negotiations. Obama has explicitly argued that the prospects for getting a better deal next year, when the Repubs take over the House and add to their cloture-proof minority in the Senate, are poor. On the other hand, one of the currently fashionable criticisms of Obama is that he is not particularly experienced or talented at this kind of congressional brinksmanship.

Rep. Peter DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon, one of the leaders of the rebellion in the House caucus, told ABC News:

“I personally believe the Republicans are bluffing on saying they’re going to kill off unemployment insurance for millions of Americans just before Christmas. And I would love to have that debate.”

We’ll see.


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Comments (3)

  1. Submitted by Brian Simon on 12/09/2010 - 03:51 pm.

    “one of the currently fashionable criticisms of Obama is that he is not particularly experienced or talented at this kind of congressional brinksmanship.”

    Sen Franken, a holding penalty was called on that 2nd down punt. What play are you calling?


  2. Submitted by Bernice Vetsch on 12/11/2010 - 07:18 am.

    The Congressional Black Caucus held a press conference (Thursday? Friday?) at which they said the so-called compromise would cause much more long-term damage than short-term gain. And they are right.

    The recommendations of the president’s deficit commission are thoroughly right-wing and attack basic elements of our already shrinking safety net: Social Security (which is not a budgeted item, but which is to be robbed), Medicare/Medicaid and others.

    The House should immediately bring the plan created by Jan Schakowski (D-IL) to a vote and let THAT be the plan that moves on to the Senate.
    Schakowski’s plan contains none of the damaging provision, but would address the deficit in ways that harm no people.

  3. Submitted by Hénock Gugsa on 12/12/2010 - 11:21 am.

    @#1 – Brian says, “Sen Franken, a holding penalty was called on that 2nd down punt. What play are you calling?”

    That would not be a football play he would be calling. It would be a play from the theater of the absurd, something you might get from like say, Moliere, maybe. But instead, you’ve got Al Franken, and that’s good enough for these days.

    Al Franken knows comedy; and comedy is stark naked truth told with a grin, I suppose. Nobody else up there in D.C. is probably good at it. Their lives and deeds are full of irony and hypocrisy, but they themselves don’t know it. The delusion is so bad that even the President lashes out at his critics and calls them, of all things, “sanctimonious!”

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