Democratic Caucus Angry At the White House
The Obama team has handled their caucuses poorly since the beginning of their administration. President Barack Obama and his team not informing the Democratic caucuses that they made a deal with Republicans to extend the Bush tax cuts was a move that created bad blood. Sen. Diane Feinstein told CNN that she could not get a straight answer from Jacob Lew on the White House negotiations with Republicans on the debt ceiling.
"Are discussions going on or not?" she said. "We couldn't get an answer. Then you pick up the morning paper and all you see right-hand (side), above the fold, front page (is) about all these discussions going on. It's hard. It's hard."
The CNN article backs up previous reports that Democrats went ballistic on Lew. The White House fails to realize that Democrats still control the Senate. House Speaker John Boehner and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have shown in the past that they cannot deliver their caucuses. Republicans place fear of the tea party over fiscal sanity. These Republicans figure their nay votes are safe because enough Democrats will pass vote to raise the debt ceiling. That is less likely with Obama offering entitlement cuts and no concessions from Republicans.
Benjamin Kirby offers this argument on Obama's strategy.
The president offered to cut Medicare and Social Security -- central tenets of Democratic policy and politics -- and yet the other side apparently doesn't have the capacity to accept a deal. I know progressive bloggers whose heads are exploding right now. They have totally turned on Obama and his supporters. From my view, it's about making a deal before we essentially destroy the republic.
Obama doesn't have to offer anything. Boehner and McConnell have made it clear that they intend to raise the debt ceiling. They know Wall Street will cut off campaign contributions to the GOP if the debt ceiling is not raised. There are enough Democrats and Republican Wall Street lackeys to raise the debt ceiling. Many Republicans will not vote to raise the debt ceiling once they know McConnell and Boehner have the votes. It doesn't matter as long as the debt ceiling is raised.
Obama is offering entitlement cuts because he is triangulating. I wrote that Obama extended the Bush tax cuts because he wanted to appeal to independent voters. If Obama really cared about the debt and budget deficit he would have never extended the tax cuts. This is why Obama isn't going after tax cuts for top earners. Obama is as unserious about the debt as Marco Rubio.