It is a familiar tactic that the Democrats have used lately — say it enough times and hope someone believes it. I was traveling yesterday and couldn't comment on the David Brooks column, but it is more and more clear David Brooks got played.
The Senate majority leader, Harry Reid, has talked about supporting a debt reduction measure of $3 trillion or even $4 trillion if the Republicans meet him part way. There are Democrats in the White House and elsewhere who would be willing to accept Medicare cuts if the Republicans would be willing to increase revenues.
This $3 to $4 trillion mysterious deal is the Democrats' talking point du jour. On CBS, Delaware Senator Chris Coons said the same.
"The next decade we can cut $4 trillion in federal spending. We can achieve real savings, and we've had plans on the table since March to do it in a bipartisan, responsible way. It's their intransigence, their refusal to consider any increase in revenue that has really stalled the talks so far. . . . I'm willing to make significant cuts in domestic spending and entitlement reform."
There's just one problem. This $4 trillion deal with entitlement reform does not actually exist. They may be saying that. David Brooks may be getting sweet nothings whispered in his ear by the White House. But there is no deal.This has become a familiar tactic by the Democrats in the past year when it comes to cutting the budget. We saw it with the continuing resolutions. We saw it with the Christmas 2010 tax extension deals. We're seeing it again. They claim there is an offer made, a deal on the table, and recalcitrant Republicans blocking the way.
But all along there is no offer. There is no deal. Heck, there isn't even a table.
They then rely on the media to whip up sentiment in favor of their mythical deal and wait for Republicans to fold. It's been an effective strategy for them so far. And yet again, David Brooks plays along.
The sad part is that this Democrat strategy says more about the media and the media's quest for deals and compromise and good government bias than anything else. The media gets played and played and played some more.
One exit point: the GOP should be on to this strategy. But we should pay attention to which Republicans actually fold in on this.
UPDATE: A friend points out that the Times has had to correct David's column. He originally wrote it as a "few hundred million" in tax increases. It's actually a few hundred billion. Was that a typo or did David get played that bad?!