Friday, July 22, 2011

Anatomy of a poutrage

This would be funny if it weren't so sad.

But here's the story that I just watched unfold:

Obama has been in meetings with Boehner and Cantor to see if there is any possibility left for a "grand bargain" as part of the debt ceiling increase. News spread that the deal would include spending cuts and a commitment to tax reform. As I predicted, that caused a hair-on-fire poutrage storm (warning: left wingnut link).

But that's not even the end of it.

As part of the negotiation on future tax reform, Boehner and Obama discussed triggers that would kick in if tax reform was not productive. Here's how the NYT described them.

The White House wants a trigger that would raise taxes on the wealthy; Mr. Boehner wants the potential penalty for inaction to include repeal of the Obama health care law’s mandate that all individuals purchase health insurance after 2014.

Here's how that was written about at TPM.

Multiple reports surfaced late Thursday that a trade-off might be in the works: Republicans would agree to the tax trigger if Obama and Dems would agree to nix the health care law's individual mandate -- an unpopular, but crucial component of the reforms Obama signed last year. This is precisely the sort of swap House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) has argued for recently.

And here's how it sounded by the time it got to the Daily Kos front page.

Although nobody from the White House nor House leadership will confirm any of the details of the Obama-Boehner deal, apparently one of the ideas is to link tax reform with the individual mandate: if tax reform isn't implemented, the individual mandate would be repealed.

Let the fireworks begin!!!

The poutragers bought it hook, line and sinker that Obama had agreed to Eric Cantor's trigger that if tax reform wasn't successful, the mandate would be repealed (thus effectively killing all of health care reform).

I have to admit that it was kind of humorous watching some of the really hard liners confused about whether to bash Obama for such stupid negotiation tactics or be happy that health care reform would be dead.

But its all based on rumor and lies. Obama has not agreed to let the mandate be repealed if tax reform isn't successful - that's what Boehner put on the table. His position, as reported in the NYT, is that if tax reform isn't successful, Bush tax cuts for the wealthy expire. Perhaps that's why WH Communications Director Pfeiffer and Speaker Boehner wanted to be so clear yesterday that NO DEAL HAD BEEN REACHED.

But this is how it goes for the poutragers. If you ever wanted a clear-cut example of why/how they make themselves totally irrelevant to the political process...there it is in a nutshell.

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