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Posted at 10:05 AM ET, 02/14/2011

How will Democrats react?

By Jennifer Rubin

By proposing a budget with a $1.6 trillion deficit that will add to the debt over the next ten years, the president has put his own party, not the Republicans, in a tight spot. Republicans can easily do better than the president's non-effort to straighten out our fiscal mess. But what about responsible Democrats? It would seem they must, if they are to retain their own credibility, blast the White House.

The Post reports that this is what one Democratic fiscal hawk is already doing. "Erskine Bowles, the Democratic chairman of the fiscal commission, said the White House budget request goes 'nowhere near where they will have to go to resolve our fiscal nightmare.'" Sen. Kent Conrad (D- N.D.) was more diplomatic:

The deficit is projected to approach $1.5 trillion this year and will remain above $1 trillion in 2012 under Obama's new spending plan, Conrad said. In 2015, when Obama had hoped to get the deficit down to 3 percent of the economy, his new budget plan projects a deficit of 3.2 percent of gross domestic product, Conrad said.

Conrad, a key architect of the fiscal commission, said the president's budget is a "first bid" in a complicated budget dance with resurgent Republicans that could include a charged debate over raising the legal limit on government borrowing, or even a government shutdown.

"I'm increasingly of the view that it's going to take Congress, Republican and Democrats, starting in the Senate maybe, demonstrating that there is a way to reach an agreement and for the president to, in effect, serve as a referee," Conrad said. "If we were to demonstrate we really could do something, I think it would bring the White House to the table - and, hopefully, the House."

To put it simply, if the 21 Senate Democrats up for re-election in 2012 (Conrad and Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.) are retiring) want to retain their jobs, they are going to have to make clear that Obama's budget is a non-starter and that they, unlike the leader of their party, intend to work on serious debt reduction.

By Jennifer Rubin  | February 14, 2011; 10:05 AM ET
Categories:  Budget  
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Comments

Same-old, same-old "games" and "politics"
with the Democrats. They don't have the principles or the commitment, or desire to do the Right thing..so, they're wasting our time playing politics.
I'm clearly convinced we have the wrong Party in power right now in the White House, for our current economic situation.

Posted by: ohioan | February 14, 2011 10:37 AM | Report abuse

I double dog dare you NeoCons to write an intelligent comment on this article,it is most relevant.
http://www.nysun.com/editorials/the-fiat-kilogram/87235/

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Democrats think Americans favor the idea of spending cuts but not cuts to actual programs. Polls show they're right. They'll emphasize the Republican cuts that affect children or police and firemen or other sacred cows. They think Americans are stupid, that they don't understand that trillion dollar-plus deficits cannot possibly be sustained. There is indeed a cognitive dissonance in public opinion which Obama hopes to exploit through the election next year. It may work.

Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 11:33 AM | Report abuse

are stupid, that they don't understand that trillion dollar-plus deficits cannot possibly be sustained. There is indeed a cognitive dissonance in public opinion which Obama hopes to exploit through the election next year. It may work.
Posted by: eoniii

Of Course they can't be sustained LONG TERM,but election cycles are short term. Is that why Bernanke reinflated the Debt Bubble? Do you have an opinion on that?

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 11:54 AM | Report abuse

rcaruth, I agree. The Fed fueled the housing bubble with cheap credit and now it's trying to start a new bubble, this time in government debt. Obama just wants to get re-elected and then make the drastic cuts that can't be postponed forever.

Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 12:46 PM | Report abuse

To eoniii "Obama just wants to get re-elected and then make the drastic cuts that can't be postponed forever."

Thank you for an honest statement,it's rare. This is the only reason to re-elect Obama,only a lame duck can get anything done.

Posted by: rcaruth | February 14, 2011 12:58 PM | Report abuse

Didn't I read that had the Republicans not stopped the expiration of the Bush tax cuts for the rich, there would not be a meaningful deficit?

Recall the good old days of budget surpluses under Clinton? And then along came Georgie who, still in a long-term hangover haze, forced through tax cuts for the rich, further deregulation of the Wall Street thieves, unpaid for prescription drug coverage, and his pièce de résistance, an imperial war against a country that had done nothing to us and was incapable of doing anything to us, that is costing us trillions of dollars.

But now, in Jennifer's and her hypocritical political soul mates, it's all the Democrats' fault.

Posted by: Lazarus40 | February 14, 2011 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Recall the good old days of budget surpluses under Clinton?

While technically true, let's do a short history lesson. Clinton was the beneficiary of Gingrich's demand and stubborn insistence on getting the budget under control. Gingrich did exactly what the Tea Party is threatening to do, shut down the government unless Clinton capitulated. Kudos to Clinton for going along with Gingrich's budgets. Maybe Obama will go along with R. Paul and he'll go down in history as working to balance the budget. I'm not holding my breath and I hope R. Paul

Posted by: bbarr01 | February 14, 2011 1:36 PM | Report abuse

eoniii wrote: "Obama just wants to get re-elected and then make the drastic cuts that can't be postponed forever."

What hard evidence is there that Obama wants to “make the drastic cuts” ever? Vapid speechifying does not count.

Rcaruth then wrote approvingly: “Thank you [eoniii ] for an honest statement, it's rare. This is the only reason to re-elect Obama, only a lame duck can get anything done.”

Obama is lamer now than he was last year. Do you call this “get[ting] anything done”? I sure don’t.

Apparently you two are relying Obama’s manifest leadership(!) If Obama is a leader, then I am Alexander the Great.

Posted by: nvjma | February 14, 2011 4:41 PM | Report abuse

nvjma, I wasn't very clear. All I know is that Obama is not going to address the deficits meaningfully in the next two years. Instead, he's decided to demagogue the Republicans as "heartless" or whatever.

If Obama is re-elected, the bond market won't allow him not to address the fiscal crisis. Trillion dollar-plus deficits aren't sustainable any more than an individual can run up his credit card debt indefinitely. At some point the creditors raise their rates to unaffordable levels or just cut off credit altogether. We're just a few years away from that point. Obama won't have the choice in his second term of recklessly spending almost twice our tax revenue.

Posted by: eoniii | February 14, 2011 5:23 PM | Report abuse

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