Oliver Willis

The Grand Crap Sandwich

The Republican Party was able to enact more conservative cuts on the government with a Democratic President and Democratic Senate than they were with a Republican President, House, and Senate. That’s how much of a massive failure the debt ceiling “deal” is.

It is a massive failure, not only of progressive politics, but of American politics. The legislation will hobble the economic recovery while hurting the poor and middle class. Anybody who believes in progress for America should loudly vote against this monstrosity.

Everybody should share the blame here.

The Republican Party, for its dogged dedication to policies that enrich the already rich at the expense of ordinary Americans.

Congressional Democrats, for being listless and directionless and spineless at practically every opportunity. Given the reigns of power by the American people, they dithered and dithered and watered legislation down. While in the majority, they allowed the GOP to wield far too much influence, while also making the party’s own conservative wing overly influential. Those choices helped lead to a loss of power in 2010, and even weaker leadership in 2011.

President Obama, who has now shown himself to be a terrible negotiator of epic proportions. With just the House, he gave the Republicans the least terrible of their demands. The right demanded no revenue and all-cuts, and Obama gave them just what they wanted. Sure, they would have rather had even deeper cuts — but Obama played the entire game on GOP territory.

I wish someone would show the President a thesaurus and explain that “capitulation” is not a synonym of “compromise.”

In 2010, Democrats ran on a platform of “the Republicans are worse” and as a result suffered at the midterm elections. You cannot run a strong campaign on that kind of message. People need a reason to vote for you, not just against the other guy.

Democrats have now compounded their 2010 problem. If the bill passes, a Democratic president, along with a Democratic senate, will be enshrining conservative policy as law. While overall it’s still better to have Democrats in power — the Democrats themselves have undercut progressive policy. That’s a crappy way to motivate your progressive base.

And again, besides the politics and the optics, the deal is just bad for America. It is wrong for our country. It hurts an already bleeding nation. And the Democrats helped.

In the past progressives like myself said we needed “more and better” Democrats, please. Now we truly realize that its far better to get better Democrats because a majority with a Democratic president simply unwilling to push forward and do the right thing clearly isn’t getting the job done.

This is a massive failure.