Saw E-Notes in front of Metro Center this afternoon. He was telling me about this photograph of President Barack Obama climbing the stairs of the Lincoln Memorial yesterday. Looks to me his Secret Service detail will be more out of breath than the President when they reach the top of the stairs. But I digress. Read E-Notes’ take here.
By now we get it that Republicans want to privatize and weaken government in critical social areas using skirmishes like “abortion” to rally their more passionate base. Somehow, the face of the new Republican generation, Rep. Paul Ryan of WI dropped off the front page this weekend with his 2012 budget proposal that chops away at medicare and medicaid while awarding more tax breaks to the top 1%. He’ll be back.
Democrats want to strengthen government in critical social areas but can’t seem to find the right words that stick with the American people or rally their base. Who’s the face of the new generation for that party cause?
My biggest disappointment with the battle of the budgets has been the framing by the press. The budget debate and the possible government shutdown appeared to have less to do with the direction and impact on American citizens and more with the personalities and cast of characters in a game of “chicken.” And what was gained? A one-week budget. Stalemate. Granted, budgets are massive documents, but the question of winners and losers shouldn’t be directed at lawmakers, but the people directly affected. Read “us.” If you’re looking for your score sheet, you won’t find it anytime soon in major media outlets. Some of the locals are trying to reveal line items:
The Washington Post on how the budget deal affects Washington (a ban on District government-funded abortion services, and needle exchanges. Funding for private school vouchers and cuts for DC court and public school improvement)
Boston Globe cuts in the Transit Administration capital investment grants may affect bus and rail transit systems throughout New England. Also affected could be funding to clean drains and sewage systems to comply with the Clean Water Act.
The White House sent David Plouffe their Senior Advisor on the talk-show circuit to frame the next round. Will his words stick? We shall see. Though this quote doesn’t quite make one leap to their feet – “Compromise is not a dirty word.” What IS compromise vs. what it isn’t in governing? The bedrock of getting the job done in a democratic society (?) Just a draft thought.
The President’s Weekly was about “good news.” “The biggest annual spending cut in history.” We avoided a government shutdown. People will get paid, parks will be open for the weekend, and some important projects like infrastructure will have to be shelved for the moment. Hopefully, a bridge maintenance project won’t send a message back with a structural collapse. Actions speak louder than words.
In the meantime, I’m looking for that score sheet on the budget. The one that keeps up with the American people. And perhaps President Obama will ask Lincoln where he can find three generals – Grant, Sherman, and Sheridan – for the next budget battle.
Update: The Washington Post has a nice line-item budget cut score sheet as part of this article. I guess the narrative does have to turn to what this was all about from the start.