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Merry Christmas, Mr. Boehner. Your stocking just got stuffed with concessions on tax rate increases, increased spending cuts, and a Democratic president doing what no other Democrat has ever done, cutting Social Security benefits. And it's still not enough for you. Even though it came from a president who just won a huge election with a mandate on those very things: a hard line in the sand on ending tax breaks for the top two percent, and protecting all of the middle class, including seniors.
You've achieved some support from your raucus caucus, who now have "unity around the spending side," according to Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, your number four in leadership. Unity on spending cuts is easy to achieve when you've got a president who just offered up Social Security benefits cuts for you to run against in two years. No wonder you're asking for more concessions. It's worked for you so far.
And it just gets better for you, with public polling opposed to pretty much everything Obama has offered up as concessions, not extending the payroll tax cut, cutting Social Security benefits and taking big, as of yet unspecified, bites out of Medicare and Medicaid. Nice trick you managed there, getting the president to put his name on all the spending cuts you want, but know the public hates.
You've also been able to get the president to make his Democratic colleague Sen. Harry Reid look like a fool.
Obama, according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), had previously told fiscal cliff negotiators that "Social Security is not going to be part of this." That turned out to be a false assertion, given Monday's offer to target the elderly.
So, congratulations Mr. Boehner. You've turned what was shaping up to be an unmitigated public relations disaster into a pretty damned good situation for you. For the rest of us, let's just hope your crazy caucus can't come together on tax increases for everyone and scuttles this deal over the cliff.
Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Tue Dec 18, 2012 at 08:20 AM PST.