Whiny Children

Ryan's Mixed Reception, I Think

Blessedly, Paul Ryan doesn't seem to be getting rave reviews this time around.

From what I can tell, the reception to this new Ryan travesty is mixed. Of course he's being savaged on my side of the pond, which is to be expected and is deserved. In the redoubts of deficit hawkery, it's hard to make out a clear line yet.

The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery can always be counted on to give the deficit hawks favorable coverage, but her piece that's up is pretty neutral. She hasn't yet gotten around to quoting Erskine Bowles and the others about how serious and responsible all this shitting on poor people is. So the jury is still out there. And of course we've yet to hear from the Post's ed page, which will come tomorrow morning.

Politico at least has refrained from giving us a headline praising Ryan today. That's a step in the right direction. However, the lead Politico piece right now is "Is he serious?", which is not a mocking article about Ryan's budget but is aimed at Obama, fretting that he's not serious about a grand bargain. Tsk tsk.

Amazing. I mean, a sentence like this one: "If Obama fails to hit the right notes, his overtures may only exacerbate GOP concerns." What on earth are the writers talking about? What right notes? Here are the notes that Obama would have to hit to mollify the GOP: no revenue, severely deep cuts to domestic programs across the board, no cuts for a military budget that has grown at unprecedented levels for the last 15 years, and deep cuts to entitlements.

Does Politico really mean to imply that those are the "right notes"? That Obama should walk away from the positions he supports, the positions on which he handily won reelection, the positions majorities of Americans support? That doing this would constitute hitting the right notes? Lord.

Next I ventured over to the web site of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, a central deficit hawk outfit, to see the degree to which they were endorsing what Ryan laid out. Alas, their blog post made little sense. They seem to be saying that Ryan is making about $6.7 trillion worth of shaky assumptions, but it's a really confusing chart, so I can't be sure.

Anyway. If you missed this piece by Ezra Klein last weekend, read it. All the Republicans do here is move goalposts. They insist Obama needs to be for means testing of Medicare. They are told he is. Well then, he needs to be for chained CPI. They are told he is. Well, then, he needs to be for this and that and the other thing, and anyway we don't really feel we can trust him. He is dealing with whiny little children. You can't make a grand bargain with whiny children, or at least you can't make one that's fair.