This morning, Sen. Patty Murray praised her Democrat colleagues in the Senate, Sen. Mark Werner (D-VA) and Sen. Tim Kaine (D-VA). They are both “great” members of the Senate Budget Committee, by her estimation. She said they both spent “a great deal of time and effort in helping us to get onto a path of sustainable economic recovery and deficit reduction.” She “really” appreciates it.
When lawmakers in Congress express a strong desire for President Obama to lead on deficit reduction, that’s our cue to be very wary. Talk of a so-called “grand bargain” is an indication that someone is going to jettison their principles. That is why conservatives are not leaping for joy at the first sign of agreement between the President and Congress, which this week was a dinner that the President and several GOP senators shared followed by a lunch between Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and President Obama the next day.
When the senators expressed their optimism about striking a deficit reduction deal with the President, Heritage Action CEO Mike Needham was immediately skeptical:
Republican senators who are feeling optimistic about the possibility of a deficit reduction deal after dining with President Obama last night should explain their enthusiasm. The only reason for optimism is if the President promised that tax increases are completely off the table. A fine dining experience with the President of the United States may be enjoyable, but until he jettisons his flawed, economically damaging approach to deficit reduction, there is little reason for excitement.
The Wall Street Journal editorial board expresses (sub. req’d) in clear terms why Americans — especially conservatives — should not put blind faith in the President’s proposal:
The White House knew its post-Newtown effort would require bringing key gun-control groups into the fold. So the White House offered a simple arrangement: the groups could have access and involvement, but they’d have to offer silence and support in exchange.
The implied rules, according to conversations with many of those involved: No infighting. No second guessing in the press. Support whatever the president and Vice President Joe Biden propose. And most of all, don’t make waves or get ahead of the White House.
In exchange: a voice in the discussions, a role in whatever final agreement is made and weekly meetings at the White House with Biden’s chief of staff, Bruce Reed — provided they don’t discuss what happens there.