The Deal: Obama Loses, Tea Party Wins

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Ben Cohen
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As usual, Republicans have forced the President to give away serious concessions in order to keep Washington functioning, and again, Obama has given away far more than was politically necessary. From the Huff Post:

A last-minute budget deal forged amid bluster and tough bargaining averted an embarrassing federal shutdown, cut billions in spending and provided the first major test of the divided government that voters ushered in five months ago.

Working late into Friday night, congressional and White House negotiators finally agreed on a plan to pay for government operations through the end of September while trimming $38.5 billion in spending.

Gary Younge puts the 'victory' claimed by Democrats into perspective:

His original proposal was a mild stimulus that would add $40bn to 2010 funding levels. The country ended up with a cut of $38.5bn – the largest spending cuts in history, slashing budgets for community programmes, infrastructure investment and healthcare provision, among other things. Left to his own devices, the Republican House Speaker, John Boehner, would have settled for less. But the Tea Party would not allow it.

This was by no means inevitable. There is no question that Obama had tocompromise, but the deal that he eventually struck did not reflect the balance of power either in the polity – where Democrats have the Senate and the presidency – or the country

Why does Obama continue to allow the GOP's vision of cutting and destroying government to prevail? He is a powerful orator and could easily rally the country around a new mantra of effective government. Good politics is about big ideas and big visions, and Obama's seem to get smaller and smaller as time goes on.

'Yes We Can' has unfortunately become 'Perhaps We Could'.