I want to remove the post I posted this afternoon called “Harry Reid Throws Down the Gauntlet In Front of … Obama. Hurray.” I think Reid has done exactly that, and I think he’ll play a much larger role in the debt ceiling debate and other fiscal-policy debates going forward, as will the other Dem senators. Obama will have to get Reid’s approval before he caves on anything major. And I don’t think Reid will approve of any major cave. So it doesn’t matter that much whether Obama wants to cave. What matters is the extent to which Reid will let him cave.
The main point of my post was to say that the pol/pundit/news-analysis crowd seems to have missed this. But in my post, I also said I’m glad that the agreement was reached, and gave my reasons why I thought it was better than going over the cliff. I said I was concerned about the effect of failing to extend unemployment insurance, and some other things. And, although I didn’t say this in my post, I think Boehner would not have allowed an up-or-down vote on the $250,000 income-tax-hike floor, so some compromise probably would have come about then anyway.
But I’ve changed my mind–or, rather, I’m just not sure–that going over the cliff would not have gotten a better result on the Bush tax cuts. So … apologies to my hero. I agree with Paul Krugman, after all.
Whew. A return to normalcy.
That said, I don’t think this deal is the end on the issue of the permanence of the Bush tax hikes. I think that during the upcoming debt ceiling controversy, the public will come to realize that important expenditures will have to be cut, or the deficit reduced less, because of the loss of revenue as a result of the failure to end those tax cuts except for those with incomes above $450,000, and the failure to lower the estate tax floor (a real travesty).
But while Obama can’t seem to articulate this with any specificity or clarity, others–including Elizabeth Warren–in the new Senate will, I think. The public is paying attention. And Obama is no longer the only Democratic game in town. A recognition of this is what’s been missing from most of the commentary and analysis. But the next two years, and the 2014 campaign, will be playing out on a Dem-policy home field. The Republicans lost the home-field advantage when they lost the election.
To borrow a line from Ann Romney, it’s our turn now.
Should I leave the earlier post, or remove it, readers?
UPDATE: Oh, no! I’ve changed my mind again! I just read Matthew Yglesias’s take on all this, and he agrees with my first post. (Okay, my first post agrees with his take; he posted first.) And he’s completely convinced me that I was right the first time.
So, now the question is: Should I remove this post? OMG. This cliff thing is really stressing me out.
The good news, now that I’ve changed my mind again, is that Yglesias thinks Krugman agrees with my first post, not my second one.
SECOND UPDATE: Wow. A consensus is developing. I was right the first time!
Seriously, E. J. Dionne posted the definitive column on this. He’s right. This is a significant start to a progressive future. That was my immediate reaction. And it’s my final one.