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Please begin with an informative title:

I know that some of you will be shocked, so sit down first...

No, it wasn't about Obamacare or about crazy Republicans.  After a few days of Shutdown-a-rama (and weeks of prep work) the leaks are coming out. Boehner is going for the Grand Bargain.

You've been played.  Shutdown kabuki.

Van Jones is on CNN begging Obama not to give up too much.

Public has been played with the shutdown kabuki. It goes like this: Those Republicans are crazy! OMG they're so crazy and the debt ceiling is coming and if they shut down the government they'll default on the debt too and OMG OMG that would be so much worse!

Matt Yglesias has told us, you should be terrified!

There’s no guarantee that it’ll lead to a worldwide financial panic and a massive global depression, but there’s honestly no guarantee that it won’t. Nobody knows what will happen, and you should find that prospect terrifying.
Everybody knows how crazy those Republicans are now so no matter how bad the Grand Bargain is, it will be better than what the crazy Republicans will do when they drive us over the debt ceiling CLIFF!  So make a deal! Hurry! Take the deal!

President Obama has no choice. These guys are crazy.  

Over the past week or so your role was to yell about how crazy the Republicans are and to list, one by one, all the bad things about the shutdown. And emphasize again how crazy the Republicans are.

But now your role has changed. Now you should say that the Grand Bargain is better than the alternative that the crazy Republicans will force on President Obama.  You should say he really has no choice.  He has to take the deal.

Be good partisans.  Play your role in the GrandBargain-a-rama.


You must enter an Intro for your Diary Entry between 300 and 1150 characters long (that's approximately 50-175 words without any html or formatting markup).

I'm taking requests for Shutdown-a-rama Oops GrandBargain-a-rama theme music.

Update: By request...


7:05pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

The Dem leadership says "No Deal!" You have to pass a clean CR first!
Nancy Pelosi says they have to pass the clean CR and then we can go to the table to talk about the budget!  Phew, I think we're safe!  

Instructions above have changed. Continue reading lists of closed national parks for awhile longer!

7:15pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

Reid and Pelosi, in the post meeting press conference, were asked about the debt ceiling and whether the Republicans will take us off the cliff.

Reid: "I believe based on what we've seen .. Tea Party driven... Cruz... these people are headed where they want to go"

Pelosi: "We should take the debt ceiling debate off the table... United States will never default.. it's really dangerous.. shutdown is bad but default is beyond cataclysmic... so don't confuse the two... To open government, we're willing to compromise on the 988"

7:30pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

Robert Costa from NRO comes highly recommended and lauded by numerous progressives on Twitter just published this:

Boehner to GOP: Grand Bargain in the Works

“It’s the return of the grand bargain,” says one House Republican, who requested anonymity to speak freely. “There weren’t a lot of specifics discussed, and the meetings were mostly about just checking in. But he’s looking hard at the debt limit as a place where we can do something big.”

Beyond Boehner’s office, the leadership is sending out a similar message through its emissaries. The House GOP’s most influental fiscal strategists, Dave Camp and Paul Ryan, are privately reassuring nervous Republicans that the federal shutdown may be painful in the short term, but a budget deal is in the works — and they should be enthused about what they’re cooking up.

“Ryan is selling this to everybody; he’s getting back to his sweet spot,” says a second House Republican who’s close with Ryan. “He and Camp are going to be Boehner’s guys. That’s why Boehner put them on the CR conference committee; he knows these guys are going to be his point men.”

Earlier today, Costa:
Paul Ryan, Debt-Limit Strategist

Ryan seems to have expected, all along, that the CR debate would unfold this way — crashing into the debt limit and creating a discussion beyond government funding. “I think it will fold into the debt-ceiling fight. I think that’s inevitable, and preferable in my opinion,” he said in an interview with NRO last week. “I like combining all of our leverage, which is sequester and the debt limit.”

7:35pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

New instructions: Don't call it a Grand Bargain!

8:20pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

Three articles from the past week or so that you should read:
How Republicans Can Win Debt Fight
GOP-White House 'Grand Bargain' Talks Collapse
Why We Should Fear – and Fight – An Entitlement-Cutting “Grand Bargain”

8:50pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

You can find a lot of discussion about this on Twitter and no doubt there will be statements and articles soon.  Here's one from Politico, no, I can't stand them either, but during negotiations and at times like this, politicians go to them to get word out.  That's well known.  Anyway, as I said, there's a ton of discussion out there that you can find on Google Twitter or with a Google search. I'm not going to update the diary with every opinion or thing said by a politician.  Over the coming days and the weeks leading up to the debt ceiling, if things go as they have in previous epic negotiations, this will go back and forth and up and down before it's done.

Note: A lot of people are saying that there's no problem because the Dem leadership is saying "no deal".  That's really a short-sighted view and you're missing the big picture in a major way.  They're talking about a short term funding arrangement on a continuing resolution.  That doesn't change anything with respect to the debt ceiling, and Nancy Pelosi has just told you that the shutdown is bad but the debt default is cataclysmic and a default is not going to happen.  With their Obamacare smokescreen the Republicans just showed you how crazy they are so the public believes that they would default on the debt too.  Mission accomplished.  Now there's cover for a grand bargain.  

The whole idea of this diary is that we need to change the focus of this whole thing, stop the shutdown-a-rama distraction and push back against a grand bargain. For anyone who has been paying attention, we've been waiting for this for months.  The next opportunity for a big deal was going to be this fall, the convergence of the budget and debt ceiling.  The Gene Sperling email that was leaked by Woodward laid out what the purpose of the sequester was.  It was to cause enough pain to force the Democrats and Republicans to the table to cut "entitlements" and to raise revenues.  Mostly to force Democrats to agree to cut some combination of Social Security, Medicare or Medicaid, IMHO.  Republicans will probably only agree to revenues if it includes a "tax reform" deal that eliminates some loopholes (that can be added back later - much harder to cut corp tax rate than to slip loopholes into huge bills over the years).

Sperling email:

The idea that the sequester was to force both sides to go back to try at a big or grand barain with a mix of entitlements and revenues (even if there were serious disagreements on composition) was part of the DNA of the thing from the start. It was an accepted part of the understanding — from the start. Really. It was assumed by the Rs on the Supercommittee that came right after: it was assumed in the November-December 2012 negotiations. There may have been big disagreements over rates and ratios — but that it was supposed to be replaced by entitlements and revenues of some form is not controversial. (Indeed, the discretionary savings amount from the Boehner-Obama negotiations were locked in in BCA: the sequester was just designed to force all back to table on entitlements and revenues.)  


Does anybody think that has changed?  The Democrats talk about getting rid of the sequester every day.  But it did not work as designed by the White House. Now there's the pressure of the shutdown too, and the really big one, the debt ceiling. We got some permanent Bush tax cuts during the last shock doctrine manufactured crisis, the fiscal cliff.  Maybe "tax reform" (conservative wet dream if they can flatten the tax code and call it a revenue increase) or immigration will be in the mix this time, who knows?

Anyway, a clean CR gets us just about nothing. "No deal" doesn't mean no deal on the debt ceiling.  And after this shutdown kabuki, everybody believes the Republicans will force a default on the debt, whether they really would or not, and sets the stage for the grand bargain. Again.

Is grand bargain the only way out?

Yes, the grand bargain is back.

It’s about the only common thread these days that runs from House Republican leadership down through the rank and file. Most House Republicans privately concede they’re fighting a battle they’re unlikely to win, and to avoid a prolonged shutdown and a disastrous debt default, Washington has to create a package so big that lifting the borrowing limit and funding the government is merely a sideshow.
“I want to get a budget agreement,” Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) told POLITICO on Wednesday. “That’s what we’ve been about all along. So yeah, we think the issues are converging — [the continuing resolution] and debt limit — and from the get-go, we wanted to get a budget agreement to grow this economy and get this debt under control, especially before the Federal Reserve starts raising interest rates. I think it’s in our nation’s interest to do that. And that’s one of the things we’re fighting for in addition to relief from Obamacare — or fairness from Obamacare.”

9:40pm: Breathless Breaking Update!

Digby cites the same sources (tweets, article, Robert Costa of NRO) and now has posted about it.

Hmmm. GOP Grand Bargain? What's that?

Keep in mind that the president said this just two weeks ago:

If we wanna do more deficit reduction, I’ve already– put out a budget that says, “Let’s do it.” I’m willing to reform entitlements. I’m willing to– you know, cut out additional waste that may be there. And I’m spending time, even without pressure from Congress, trying to figure out how we can cut out waste in the system.

He did say that he thought there should be some corporate taxes too. But I'm hearing that Democrats would be willing to deal if they can reverse some of the sequester cuts. No mention of tax hikes --- which would be the one poison pill that would kill the Grand Bargain for the Republicans (again.)

If you've been following Digby and a few others on this topic, you'll know that she's had eyes wide open on this thing and has been waiting for this development too, and was well aware that the budget/debt ceiling convergence this fall was the most likely time for another shot at the grand bargain in some shape or form.  There's a lot of denial and obfuscation going around, but Digby isn't one of the ones engaging in it and has been really good on this.   She also has an update from that Politico article, a paragraph that I did not include which refers to some gimmick they've come up with where the Republicans raise some revenue without raising taxes. That could mean removing some loopholes or it could mean a Romney style tax reform or perhaps someone in the comments will let us know of other options that are being discussed.

Again, big point is to pivot from the shutdown-a-rama distraction and move to push back against destructive austerity in a grand bargain.

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