President Obama's recent closed-door sessions with Republican congressmen to reach a "grand bargain" has roused suspiciously little attention in the mainstream media. What scant reporting has occurred presents the following narrative: President Obama is a "middle ground" politician attempting to breach political divides with erstwhile Republican opponents. In reality these meetings are not between political opposites, but kindred spirits; perfectly matched ideologies that differ only in implementation, and only by degrees.
~ from Obama's Still Shopping for a Grand Bargain by Shamus Cooke ~
One would think that, since Obama and the GOP both want to eviscerate the "social safety net," it wouldn't be that difficult to agree on a piece of legislation to get the job done. But I don't think the problem is with the legislation itself -- neither party wants the blame for the financial fallout the evisceration will cause. Neither Obama nor the Republicans want to be viewed as the architects of America's shock doctrine.
And so, all of this name-calling and wringing of the hands is about trying to place the target on the other side's back. Obama wants to be able to say, "Hey, I fought the good fight, but it's those nasty Republicans that brought us to this point." GOP leaders want to be able to say, "Don't blame us. We had a better plan, but we had to compromise with the President."
Me thinks that, at some point, they will figure out a strategy to give both sides what they want: austerity for the vast majority and enough political cover to soothe the ruffled feathers of their base of supporters. Really, that's what I think the REAL debate in Washington is about.