In our (East Coast-centric) breakfast roundup of happy, or at least not depressing, news…
Noam Scheiber, at TNR, says “The Budget Deal Is a Win for Democrats (And the GOP doesn’t know it yet)”:
… The Murray-Ryan deal isn’t really about the sequester. It’s a two-year truce on fiscal self-sabotage—and, more to the point, a bet on who benefits from such a truce.
That is, Republicans believe the Obama administration (and really the entire Democratic Party) will collapse under the weight of its irredeemable health care law if we just get through the next two years without a political catastrophe like the recent government shutdown. Democrats believe the economy will pick up momentum and solve a lot of their political problems, not to mention a good chunk of the deficit, if we can just put an end to gratuitous spending cuts while the recovery is still fragile.
So the question becomes: who got the better side of this bet? And that answer to that, I think, is Democrats. For one thing, Republicans are way over-estimating the extent to which Obamacare will be a liability for Democrats. They assume the problems of the first two months will extend indefinitely into the future—that they’re structural (flawed conceit) rather than mechanical (flawed website)—when the evidence suggests implementation is improving by the day. By contrast, the state of the economy is typically the biggest driver of the public mood. If the economy is humming along next fall, the Democrats’ prospects (and those of incumbents generally) could look pretty damn good…
Professor Krugman, in his NYTimes blog, notes “That Unskewed Feeling”:
… [R]ight-wing pundits, from Bill Kristol to the WSJ, have clearly decided that the GOP will win big in 2014 by running against the Obamacare debacle. The possibility that it might not be perceived as a debacle by November — that it might even be perceived as a qualified success — doesn’t seem to figure at all in their thinking.
Why the disconnect? Well, it’s feeling to me a lot like the later months of the 2012 campaign, when the polls clearly pointed to an Obama win but Republicans lived in a closed information loop where such information was excluded — the only polls they heard about were “unskewed” to remove the unwelcome information…
Greg Sargent, at the Washington Post, notes that “Republicans will face intense pressure over unemployment benefits”:
On the morning after lawmakers reached a budget deal that doesn’t include an extension in unemployment benefits, chief GOP budget architect Paul Ryan awoke to a raft of home-state headlines that were all about the nearly 100,000 Wisconsinites who stand to get cut off.
“99,000 unemployed Wisconsinites face cuts,” blared one front page. “Jobless benefits at risk for 99K in Wisconsin,” blared another. “99,000 state residents to lose benefits,” blared a third. You can see those and a lot more at this compilation of front pages put together by Dems on the Ways and Means Committee.
The imminent expiration of the Emergency Unemployment Compensation program for 1.3 million Americans is mostly being treated as a fait accompli in Washington. But it looks to be turning into a very resonant issue in local media in states where many thousands of residents will be directly impacted by it. (Dems have created an interactive map showing how many people in each state stand to lose benefits.)
This fact is central to the emerging Dem strategy to increase pressure on Republicans to agree to an extension. House Dems are working to drum up as much local press coverage of the issue as possible, because local coverage can focus directly on how many constituents in a lawmaker’s state stand to be hurt – making it hit home in a way Beltway media coverage can’t…
… [T]he coverage could get a lot worse, once the deadline looms and human interest stories multiply about folks facing the loss of benefits during the holiday season, at a time when reporters have little else to write about. I wouldn’t give up on Republicans agreeing to the extension just yet.
We live in hope, Mr. Sargent.
Apart from that, what’s on the agenda for the day?