The hunt for Politico’s BS detector

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Two bits of spin in Mike Allen’s Politico “Playbook” that seem like obvious BS (obvious even to me):

BS Spin #1: From a “Top Democratic aide”–

“Why or how can we be expected to negotiate anything with McConnell if Boehner can’t agree or, even worse, deliver votes?”

Huh? Boehner could only deliver 150-160 Republican votes for his “Plan B” package (of the 217 he needed). So you negotiate a compromise plan that will get 120 GOP votes and 100 or so  Democratic votes, or some similar combination. That’s not an unreasonable “expectation” at this point.

BS Spin #2: From a “Senate Democratic aide”–

So much is riding on [this] week. If we go off the cliff, overarching tax reform suffers. The mandate post-January 1, if we’ve gone off the cliff, will be to patch the huge tax hike that just hit everybody. So you’re more likely to see a narrower bill be advanced in January, because there’s an urgency to fix the tax hike. It will be just an emergency, patch-the-tax-hikes, ex-post-facto-type approach. If we do get something in the next seven days that resolves the issue of decoupling up front [separating top earners from the middle class in extending Bush tax cuts], then that legislation is likely to formally set up a process for tax reform in 2013, and so the prospect of following through with it is very likely.

“Ironically, for Republicans who want to do tax reform that has a chance of lowering corporate rates and clearing the code and making it simpler, their incentive is to concede on the issue of the individual rates now, and build into the legislation a mandate that tax reform occur next year. …

If we go over the cliff for a few days, everyone just forgets about tax reform (corporate and otherwise)? Really? They pass an “emergency patch” [how long does that take? how hard is it to tack on tax reform pledge?] and then sit around and do nothing on taxes, after talking up reform for a year? Isn’t there an actual business lobby for lowering corporate rates? Isn’t there a debt ceiling hike coming up that will provide another conspicuous occasion for “setting up a process for tax reform”? The unnamed Senate aide’s pitch seems like a half-baked attempt to get the press to blame Republicans for more than just a failed “cliff” deal. (It’s hard to believe the”aide” thought it would actually persuade many Republicans). …

P.S.: Does Allen swallow bogus Republican spin this easily? …

P.P.S.: When did Congress start meta-legislating instead of legislating?** Rather than just debating and passing tax reform, the modern Congress must “set up a process for tax reform” that may or may not result in “following through” (i.e. .actual reform)–just as they set up a “process” for deficit-cutting 1) by the so-called  “Supercommittee” to avoid the establishment of the “fiscal cliff” and 2) by the current lame duck Congress avoid the automatic sequester of that is part of that now-established cliff.  How is all this working out? Somehow when Congress passes a law requiring it to pass a law in the future, it almost always seems to find a reason not to pass the law when the time comes. Maybe the press should stop taking meta-legislation seriously. …

More: From Glenn Thrush’s Politico piece on the Obama’s new attitude:

But if the 2012 election increased the president’s comfort with public emotion,  it also strengthened his desire to ensure that the GOP — a party that has lost  the popular vote in six of the last seven presidential elections — doesn’t get a  better deal than they have earned. [E.A.]

Maybe I can’t count. … Or maybe Michael Dukakis did better than anyone thought …

Or maybe a “top aide” said it. …


**–Gramm-Rudman-Hollings, which didn’t cut the Reagan deficit but set up a process by which the deficit would in theory be cut?

Mickey Kaus