If it’s not enough that Max Baucus, the bain of the left’s existence during the healthcare debate, is in charge of negotiating an extension of unemployment benefits, the story on who will lead White House negotiations with Republicans on what to do about the Bush tax cuts offers little for liberals to love.
For starters, the lead White House negotiator for the tax cut extension is former New York Fed chair, and current treasury secretary, Tim Geithner. Please, stop cheering. From Politico, about the most depressing start to an article that you could think of if you’re a Democrat:
President Barack Obama emerged from his two-hour bipartisan summit Tuesday, saying he was encouraged by the “extremely civil” atmosphere — and immediately assigned two cabinet members to hammer out a deal on Bush-era tax cuts.
“The American people didn’t vote for gridlock,” Obama said after the much-anticipated meeting, which went on longer than expected.
“They will hold all of us — and I mean all of us — accountable,” said Obama, who told congressional leaders during the meeting that he hasn’t done enough to reach out to Republicans in his first two years in office.
“The president acknowledged he needed to do better,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters after the meeting, though he stopped short of saying Obama offered an apology. …
An apology??? … Well no, the president didn’t fall to his knees, though I’m sure the reporters in the post-meeting gaggle asked him repeatedly if he did, and if not, why not… (Sigh) … so back to who will be negotiating the Bush tax cuts’ fate. Prepare to be overwhelmed … with agita …
The president, saying he wants a deal before the cuts expire at year’s end, delegated Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Office of Management and Budget chief Jack Lew to immediately begin negotiations with representatives from both parties to reach an agreement.
“That process is beginning right away, and we expect to get some answers back over the next couple of days,” he added.
Reid, in particular, seemed eager to move quickly, saying he was ready to start serious talks immediately.
Negotiators are expected to include Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, the incoming chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona, for the Republicans; and Sen. Max Baucus, chairman of the Finance Committee, for the Democrats. House Democrats have not yet designated anyone.
Kyl said there would be room for compromise.
“Oh sure,” he said. “Everyone will approach it in good faith.
Hey, the president did promise to invite the GOPers (to whom he has not yet apologized…) and poor old Harry Reid to Camp David…
You know what I think is going to happen? I think that Geithner and Lew, along with Harry Reid and the rest of the masters of cave-ocracy, are going to fold on the Bush tax cuts. They’ll probably extend them all for 1 to 3 years, as the White House seeks to triangulate against the base and win over independents. Never mind that a majority of independents, like Democrats, favor extending only the middle class tax cuts, not those for the rich. I’m guessing the House, once again, will stage the partisan showdown the base wants to see, and the Senate will be where the capitulation takes place.
Democrats will probably manage to get an extension of unemployment benefits since Republicans won’t want to look exactly like Scrooge before the holidays, but they’ll have to relent on cutting stimulus money or some other programs to get it. And in the end, the White House will hail whatever comes out of the lame duck as a victory for “bipartisanship,” which the White House political team has clearly decided trumps other political considerations, including shoring up the base.
And that, my friends, is why passage of a food safety bill is what passed for exciting news out of Capitol Hill today.
I’ll take that large glass of wine now.