Top Senate Democrats tried to scotch efforts by Majority Whip Richard Durbin to include Social Security in comprehensive deficit-reduction negotiations, illustrating the challenge facing the bipartisan talks.
The discussion occurred during a closed-door White House meeting this week among negotiators including Democratic Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada and Sen. Charles Schumer of New York, a key lieutenant.
President Barack Obama attended, although his contribution to the conversation couldn't be learned. Previously, the administration has offered general support for bipartisan debt-reduction talks.
The confrontation, as well as a flare-up on the right over taxes, illustrates the difficulty of reaching a deal on deficit-control legislation, and how fear of upsetting the party line on particular policies could trump the issue of controlling the debt.
Saturday, February 19, 2011
There was some excitement a couple days ago when six Senators, including Tom Coburn and Dick Durbin, announced they were working on a "grand bargain" on taxes, entitlements and spending. Well, put away your party hats because the Senate Dem "leadership" has already told Durbin to knock it off, at least as long as Social Security is on the table:
You have to love the bolded part. Can I venture an educated guess? (this would be along the lines of Bill Maher's educated guess that the President doesn't "struggle" with the issue of gay marriage) The President doesn't want Social Security on the table either. Or do you actually think Harry Reid was sitting there dictating to the Radical in Chief? Obama thinks Americans like limited government in theory and big government in practice. Plus, I'm sure he believes all this Tea Party stuff will blow over once the economy recovers sufficiently enough so that even middle aged white guys can find a job. So, no, there's not going to be even talk of entitlement reform so long as he is in office and the Congress lacks veto-proof majorities.
I keep hearing about how Obama is this transformational leader, that his real name should properly be spelled "Jesus Delano Wilson Lincoln." But he has shown himself to be absolutely incapable of leading on the fundamental domestic issue of the day: how to rein in spending. Entitlements are part of that conversation, something even a far left Senator like Dick Durbin recognizes. And spare me the "effective behind the scenes" line. Clark Clifford was effective behind the scenes. Pre-2001 Don Rumsfeld was effective behind the scenes. The President is the scene.
It's an incredible thing that two years into his presidency, we still have no idea what his qualities as a leader are. All we know is that he is the new Reagan/FDR/Lincoln/etc. But I doubt the Wall Street Journal would have written an article like this about Obama's supposed models with a line about how their "contribution to the conversation could not be learned." Imagine it: "President Lincoln's feelings regarding Gen. Hooker's continuing as head of the Army of the Potomac could not be learned?" "On the issue of packing the Supreme Court, President Roosevelt has been delphic and circumspect in his private statements?" "President Reagan's feelings about Communism were not known at this time?"
We all know what Obama thinks, but his supporters don't want it to be known.