This morning on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Howard Dean was interviewed by Joe Scarborough, while presumably Mika Brzezinski cavorted on her desk in a miniskirt, on the “fiscal cliff negotiations.”
HOWARD DEAN: I make the argument that going off the — as you call it the curb, I call it the slope, the press calls it the cliff, is actually the best deal progressive Democrats are going to get. And here’s why. One, we get the Clinton tax rates on everybody. Will it cause a problem? Yes. There will be a short recession, and it will be painful. But two, we get defense cuts. Republicans are never going to agree to that. And three, there are some human services cuts, which we’re not going to like. But it’s the least possible damage.
Now what do we get in exchange? A serious down payment of the deficit. The Wall Street people, who wringing their hands of this, are really full of it because what they’re going to see is a big drop on Wall Street while all the hype comes and then it’s going to be roaring back because finally somebody has done something serious about the deficit.
So, I think the fiscal curb, as you call it, is the best deal that progressive Democrats are going to get. And I think it’s the best deal in the long run, not the short run.
Dean is exactly right. It is the best deal progressives will get and it is also the best deal conservatives will get. The point of a negotiation is that each side gives up something so that they both get a lot more of what they want. We did this when the current deal was cut. The deal was that we let the Bush tax rates expire, giving the Democrats their quick fix of taxes, and we got real cuts in spending. There is no outcome likely to arise in the next month that will improve that deal for either side.
The current proposal by Obama is a joke leaving the GOP with only two choices: capitulate or walk away. There is no reason to think that Howard Dean holds an opinion outside the mainstream of Democrat thought, if they have no intention of negotiating then there is no reason for us to try.