Obama and company learned:
“How did it take them three weeks (and two days) to offer nothing but President Obama’s budget?” A GOP leadership aide asked me rhetorically.
We’re seeing two things here. One is that the negotiations aren’t going well. When one side begins leaking the other side’s proposals, that’s typically a bad sign. The other is that Republicans are frustrated at the new Obama they’re facing: The Obama who refuses to negotiate with himself.
That’s what you’re really seeing in this “proposal.” Previously, Obama’s pattern had been to offer plans that roughly tracked where he thought the compromise should end up. The White House’s belief was that by being solicitous in their policy proposals, they would win goodwill on the other side, and even if they didn’t, the media would side with them, realizing they’d sought compromise and been rebuffed. They don’t believe that anymore.
Meanwhile, McConnell thinks the old rules still apply:
So this afternoon, Mitch McConnell made the most specific “fiscal cliff” offer we’ve seen thus far from Republicans. Here it is:
In an interview in his Capitol Hill office, Mr. McConnell said if the White House agrees to changes such as higher Medicare premiums for the wealthy, an increase in the Medicare eligibility age and a slowing of cost-of-living increases for programs like Social Security, Republicans would agree to include more tax revenue in the deal, though not from higher tax rates. […]
Mr. McConnell offered his ideas as examples of the structural changes Republicans are looking for. “The nexus for us is: revenue equals genuine entitlement eligibility changes,” Mr. McConnell said.
McConnell’s offer is this: We’ll give you increased revenues via the closing of loopholes — and in exchange, you give us the entitlement reforms we want, plus the tax rates we want.
That’s not much of a compromise. Indeed, it’s not new. As Steve Benen noted recently, that essential arrangement is what Lindsey Graham offered last Sunday.
What is funny is that McConnell actually thinks what he wants matters. It doesn’t, because whatever Obama can negotiate with the House will pass the Senate, no matter what Mitch wants.