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Yale law professor Daniel Markovits argues in the Los Angeles Times that the GOP lost the debt-default deal.

Markovitz argues that a national default would simply have handed the GOP what they have been after all along -- a "draconian roll-back" of Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.  

Markovitz acknowledges the validity of criticisms of the deal from the left but he considers it a major victory that the President extracted any concessions at all from tea party-led Republicans who would have been perfectly content to accept default.  The bargain, he writes,

does indeed impose cuts that will slow the economic recovery and unjustly burden working Americans. But the deal is much nearer an affirmation of the president's core commitments than a surrender. Moreover, the deal that the president got is much, much less bad, from the progressive point of view, than a coldly rational observer would have predicted. The reason the president beat the odds is simple: The Republicans blinked.

Given their starting posture in the negotiations and "the tea partyers' apparent commitment to ideological purity over electability" Markovits counts it as a minor miracle that the Republicans agreed to anything more than a short-term rise in the debt ceiling.  

The deal that was struck is dramatically — shockingly — better from the Democrats' point of view.

Read the entire op-ed in the Times for Markovits's detailed reasons the GOP lost in this deal, including his assertion that Democrats are now in a stronger position to end the Bush tax cuts.

He concludes:

The radicals in the Republican Party dragged the country to the edge of a cliff, but they failed to push us off; and they were even forced, at the last moment, to pull back.

Progressives have reason to lament the incremental cuts in the deal. But that which does not kill a social contract may make it stronger. And neither progressives nor the country should lose sight of the fact that the core institutions of ours — Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid — have all been reaffirmed.

The readers' comments in the Times are mocking Markovits's "spin."  What do y'all think?

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Comment Preferences

    •  Pay attention to who *else* is mad, and why (3+ / 0-)

      It astounds me how many of my fellow Liberals believe the President can wave a magic wand.  Three things stand out to me this week:

      1) Republicans actually compromised.  Hard to get anyone not in the Tea Party to believe this, but it is absolutely true.  Maybe it's just because I live in deep red Texas, but I have yet to meet a single Republican voter who thinks that Republicans got anything they wanted in this deal.  a) Debt ceiling was raised; they did NOT want that b) Health Care Reform not repealed -- that was the whole point of this exercise for them c) No Balanced Budget Amendment.  None of that was ever going to happen, right?  Tell that to the Rs who will vote in primaries against any R candidate who compromised on any of those items.

      2) Entitlement cuts?  Not really, no.  Nothing was done to cut social safety net programs which will not be immediately undone by future Congresses.  Period.

      3) Defense cuts?  Hell, yes.  And more on the way.  This is a log-splitter sitting in the GOP corpus callosum.  There are plenty of people calling the defense budget cuts "draconian" and "unacceptable" on the right -- yet they will be faced with an equally "unacceptable" choice in just a couple of months.  Who to piss off, the military industrial complex, or Grover Norquist?

      By all means, keep bitching about our President.  Just stop bitching so loudly that you can't hear the even more painful whining on the other side of the aisle -- and if you honestly think any other person sitting in the Oval Office would have gotten a better deal, I'd suggest upping the thorazine.

      "Confunde et vince." Come visit our chickens at

      by Walden Ponderer on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 04:09:08 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I think it was Malcolm X that said, (6+ / 0-)

    "You don't stick a knife 9 inches into a mans' back and pull it out 6 and call it progress." Whatever.

    If voting made any difference it would be illegal- Philip Berrigan

    by Mighty Ike on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:04:49 PM PDT

  •  Thanks for this diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fresno, crystalboy

    and the link to an interesting article.  Hopefully, Obama won't cave again when it comes to the Bush tax cuts expiring and more cuts to the military.

    The spirit of liberty is the spirit which is not too sure that it is right. -- Judge Learned Hand, May 21, 1944

    by ybruti on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:05:18 PM PDT

  •  You've gotta be kidding me. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, PhilK

    S.A.W. 2011 STOP ALL WARS "The Global War on Terror is a fabrication to justify imperialism."

    by BigAlinWashSt on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:12:44 PM PDT

  •  What is that man smoking, he should share (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    BigAlinWashSt, PhilK

    maybe it will make us all feel better about being sold out by our President and Party.

  •  Does anybody read the comments on (0+ / 0-)

    sites like that?

  •  I think the argument is flawed. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It assumes that they would have pulled the trigger and that's an unprovable assumption. Even by logical inference it's weak.

    The nutters haven't been tested yet. They've been there for 7 months and they talk like bad-asses but they haven't taken a punch yet. Everything I've seen has shown that they'll say or do anything to get elected but not one has faced a poll that shows they're going to lose if they cast that vote.

    And they're a minority. The leaders are owned and indebted to big money. They have loans, investments, they socialize and many of them plan to work there when they retire.

    I think both groups had more to lose and if the nutters had bolted the leadership would have negotiated something across the aisle.

    An opinion like this is one of the reasons that no one has ever asked me to advise their campaign. :)

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:22:41 PM PDT

    •  Markovits says he uses "basic negotiation theory." (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      sceptical observer

      Personally, I guess I don't know the basics of negotiation theory, so I can't vouch for how much it draws on unprovable assumptions ...or logic... but he's the contract law prof, right?

    •  What do you call the last five moneys? (5+ / 0-)
      It assumes that they would have pulled the trigger and that's an unprovable assumption. Even by logical inference it's weak.

      The article does not assume the TP would pull the trigger.  The article describes how not pulling the trigger accomplishes most all of the the TP's goal.  that speaks to motivation; the party who can succeed doing NOTHING, is notas  motivated to strike a deal as the party who must strike a deal of be crippled.

      You can call that "weak inference", but calling it that does not make it so.

      And of course you do what you accuse the author of doing.  You assume the TP would never pull the trigger, that it was a bluff. That is based on your hunch, which, presumably, is not "weak" rationale.

      The nutters haven't been tested yet

      They were just tested.  that's what this latest stuff was about...testing wills and influence.

      The Tea Party did not get what they wanted or expected.

      Maybe in a few months, people who use this site will realize that.

      Don't panic. Demonstrate.

      by Quicklund on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:10:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Moneys? ...Months! (3+ / 0-)

        Lousy rotten cheap keyboard,dim lighting mutter mutter.

        Don't panic. Demonstrate.

        by Quicklund on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:11:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Maybe you're right. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Tom Coburn's already conceding defeat on the deal.

        •  My first reading I thought it was OK (5+ / 0-)

          The first reading was a wire service article soit was not overly detailed.  But I noticed the big 3 had escaped dramatic cuts, it went to 2013, dialed back the BBA to virtually nothing, and was not nearly as massive at the GOP had wanted.  I figured that was a good sign because the TP did not get their reddest meat.  I knew we didn't get our either ... hey this might actually be a compromise!

          Over the next day details came out along with many good diaries here.  When you look at the details, and the motivations and leverages built into the deal ... it loooks better and better every time.  

          It is about LEVERAGE.  The GOP gave it up.  Now the motivation to make a deal is on the GOP, if it is on anyone.  The commission can deadlock as 6-6 and then it goes to the trigger cuts.  Which has been pointed out, can be worked around if need be.  The point being, the Democrats can live with the trigger.  So if we have to, we just vote 6x No and deadlock the commission.

          In other words, the gun is out of the GOPs hands for awhile.  We have now only to win public opinion to (A) make the best use of the Commission and (B) win in 2012.

          We would have to do that anyway.  

          Snatching a stalemate even from the jaws of defeat is called a damn good outcome.  I'll gladly take an outcome that leaves us positioned to win in 2012.  This one does.

          Don't panic. Demonstrate.

          by Quicklund on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:43:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I don't assume anything. (0+ / 0-)

        The point was, that it's unknowable. We don't know what they'd do if they knew that were facing the threat of a veto. They would be under tremendous pressure from the leadership.

        And one knows how they'll react under pressure until they're tested in real time.

        "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

        by sceptical observer on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:35:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Again, we just tested them. They have been to bat (3+ / 0-)

          We do not know what they would have done if someone said, "Go ahead and shoot me."  But we do know that shooting the hostage would accomplish most of the TP goals.

          The final deal gave the TP less that what they would have gotten by doing nothing.  That is clled good negotiation.

          The TP was tested and they fell short.  This was their best shot in the 112th Congress.  We took the blow.  It hurts, but we took the blow.

          Now we go southpaw on the GOP, because we have the leverage in the commission.  It is not as big a lever as the GOP just used, but it will be our lever.

          The dynamics are more important that the bullet points ... when you are talking political winners and losers going forward.

          Don't panic. Demonstrate.

          by Quicklund on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:49:47 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  He Pummelled the GOP Into the Greatest Democratic (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    NyteByrd1954, PhilK

    defeat in a century last fall.

    One more defeat of them of that strength, and the entire planet will be a fascist dictatorship.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 09:55:24 PM PDT

  •  It's not the outcome, but the process (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Fresno, nogo postal

    One the one hand, the 'deal' is not that horrible (however - see Items #1 & #2 below).

    On the other hand, any cut in government spending will hurt the economy in the short term.

    But what I think is bothering many of us Progressives are:
    1.)  The process of dealing with Tea Party members has set the precedent of inviting hostages to take a seat at the table.
    2.)  President Obama looked weak in not getting Revenue in the deal.

    I know about the expiration of the Bush tax cuts (but allowing their expiration would violate the President's pledge to not raises taxes on those people who earn less than $250k).

    And I do not believe that the 'Super Congress' will come up with a plan that includes Revenue or closes tax loop holes.  They might try repealing subsidies to oil & agriculture, but the lobbyists will stop that.....

    It just comes off to many of us that President Obama looked weak.  And I like him.......

  •  I thought we didn't negotiate with (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    Imagine if he'd hit the TV screens with that.

    Ordinary political process is dead. The Supreme Court killed it. In Chambers. With a gavel.

    by Publius2008 on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:30:36 PM PDT

  •  The economy will probably tank even more (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhilK, nogo postal

    and the beloved independents/swing voters will see one thing and one thing only - Obama at the helm.  

    It gets on my nerves, and you know how I am about my nerves...

    by ciganka on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 01:16:15 AM PDT

  •  You're brave to post this diary here at this time. (0+ / 0-)

    Funny how many who have read the legislation find that it is not as bad as the hysterical reactions would lead one to assume.

    Just sit back, watch the show, and then look for the honest people, in time, to admit the deal doesn't do any of the worst things it is now said to do.

    "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

    by sebastianguy99 on Wed Aug 03, 2011 at 02:35:19 AM PDT

  •  Thanks for sharing this. Its how I feel about (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    veggiemuffin, Byblis

    this too.

    I have my own personal experience with someone who would quite literally destroy the members of his family in the quest for the power his morbid insecurity denied him.  We could never make up for that dangerous disability nor could we reason with it.

    Now I come to watch the GOP behave just like this and I know to my core what they are capable of.

    The things I have learned to surmount the bully's effects on my life are just what the President has been doing.  Not only will he succeed but they will self destruct.  I don't know when or how but it will happen.

    I needed people to stand with me when I stood up to this and so does he.

  •  Well, the Freepers (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    are upset about the deal. But as I take comfort from that I see they also take comfort from knowing the liberals also hate the deal.   Kinda funny, really.

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