After the surprise unveiling of the Simpson-Bowles chairman's mark proposal, some are assuming that the so-called "deficit commission" is no longer a threat to Social Security and Medicare. While Simpson-Bowels appear to have made a major strategic mistake, they do have one play left. It's one that, because of the stakes involved, the Beltway Bubble's soft spot for deficit deceit, and the default position of weakness in too many influential Democrats, I think we should be on the lookout for.
Mike Lux makes a very strong case for Leo Hindery replacing Larry Summers as the head of the National Economic Council. For what it's worth, I can't recommend reading this and passing it around highly enough.
Before I can get back to the midterms, there are a couple developments on our side to address.
Yesterday Brian Beutler reported that Tom Daschle essentially admitted the White House prevented a public option in the health care reform effort. Daschle soon walked back his admission. The Wonk Room's Igor Volsky, who Dashle was speaking to when he made the comment, provides some more context.
Whatever the primary reason behind the White House's counterproductive "What's your problem, base?" message, it's truly maddening to witness. With the latest comments from President Obama and Vice President Biden, the WH has reached a new level of self-sabotage.
It's nearly impossible to talk about the great Dem candidates who are running (and there are many of them) without having to address the Obama Administration's comments first; often at considerable length. The view that the White House is laying the groundwork to blame the base for November seems about right.
My plea here in not new. This time it's born out of sheer desperation. Attention White House: In the interest of electing the outstanding Dems who are running, please knock it off.
Warren will not be named head of the agency (for now), thanks to the always dysfunctional Senate. But the role she will play is by every indication salient enough to constitute a big win for progressives. This is a very good start, and a great move on the president's part. Credit where it's clearly due.
Essential reading from Mike Lux and Robert Kuttner on why this is such a big deal, and who deserves the credit (Warren, POTUS, the progressive base).
Note: The title of this post is unspecific. I'll update with a more accurate title when the official announcement is made. For now, characterizing Warren's role at the CFPB as a major one seems to be the best way to go.
Personally, I'm feeling very enthusiastic right now.
The president's considerably more pronounced populist streak is on full display during his press conference. This is encouraging.
Also, CBS' Chip Reid is an idiot.
UPDATE (11:30 AM)
So far, so very good. First Milwaukee, then Parma, and now this. As far as messaging goes, this version of Barack Obama is great in my book, and much easier to rally people around. Messaging is of course only part of the equation. But especially in the wake of conservaDems abandoning the president's essential policy/good politics approach to the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest few, this step in the right direction is greatly appreciated. Credit where it's due.