By Steve Hynd
Let's see now: $1 trillion in initial cuts from domestic discretionary spending, Medicare cuts on the table in the second $1.5 trillion phase of cuts, no guarantees of increases in taxes or revenue, and a "Super Congress" commission to decide whether there will be any revenue rises and what will be further cut in the second round. Oh, and if the Republicans try to extend the Bush tax cuts in the second round, Obama says he'll veto any such move - but why should we believe him? He's always caved before.
Krugman calls it "a catastrophe on multiple levels", the New York Times says the deal is "nearly complete capitulation to the hostage-taking demands of Republican extremists", the WSJ says it's a "Tea Party Triumph". The best even apologists can find to say is that "it could have been a lot worse." Sure it could - but that's like telling a man dying of hunger he could have been dying of thirst.
The statement by Progressive Co-Chair Rep. Ra� Grijalva is spot on yet in the end utterly meaningless:
Today we, and everyone we have worked to speak for and fight for, were thrown under the bus. We have made our bottom line clear for months: a final deal must strike a balance between cuts and revenue, and must not put all the burden on the working people of this country. This deal fails those tests and many more.
The Democratic Party, no less than the Republican Party, is at a very serious crossroads at this moment. For decades Democrats have stood for a capable, meaningful government � a government that works for the people, not just the powerful, and that represents everyone fairly and equally. This deal weakens the Democratic Party as badly as it weakens the country. We have given much and received nothing in return. The lesson today is that Republicans can hold their breath long enough to get what they want.
In my opinion, the best thing the Progressive caucus could do now would be to desert the Democratic party en masse and form themselves into the core of a new populist left party. Progressives and lefties won't get any meaningful portion of their agenda enacted or defended by voting for and standing with the agenda of corporatist Whigs. The Progressive Caucus is the largest single power block in Congress, yet is ignored and sidelined constantly. As the core of a new third party it could instead become an essential powerbroker as it voiced the needs of those who are not rich and over-privileged. That they won't do so and will instead get behind the corporatist Whig cries of "most important election EVAH!" to re-elect Obama in 2012 is one of the biggest disasters of this Great Debt Debacle.
Update: Go Bernie!