The Grand Bargain is coming! The Grand Bargain is coming! [View all]
First of all, let's get rid of the revisionist history (that's RW territory, anyway) and think back to the ACTUAL Grand Bargain.
We need to remember that the original GB had great success for the Liberals - it managed to extend the tax cuts, both Bush and Obama's - for the Middle Class. Unfortunately, it also extended the Upper Class tax cuts temporarily, but Obama seems determined not to let that happen this time. It also extended Unemployment benefits that were due to expire. I could go on and on, but let's suffice it to say that in the face of unprecedented RW obstructionism O managed to broker a deal that overwhelmingly benefited Progressive ideals.
But let's get to the meat of the matter - it also contained a "trigger" clause. It established a special commission later called the Fiscal Commission that was designed to either be wildly successful.... or to fail.
Personally, I think this was a great idea. An Independent Bipartisan Commission to seriously look at the issues and agree on the proposals. And then, an actual Up or Down vote on the approved proposal! Genius!
Except, in order to be approved the Commission had to overwhelmingly approve the measures by a 14 out of 17 vote. Not just a Super-majority, but more than 80+% approval. Of course, no Committee can gain that amount of approval, but it will force them to TRY and consider measures they wouldn't have, otherwise.
One thing that everyone should remember is that the Simpson-Bowles recommendations were REJECTED. That is an excellent bargaining chip to begin with.
As far as Dick Durbin's recent comments, let's pay attention to what he actually said:
Social Security is off the table - period. Medicare and Medicaid need to be solvent WITHOUT cutting benefits - and if someone has a good idea to do that WITHOUT cutting benefits, we're willing to listen (for anyone who has done actual negotiations, this is standard practice; "If you have a better way I'm willing to listen" .
Now I agree that NOW is the time to make our preferences known. In fact, Obama is depending on us to do so! But remember to direct your efforts towards those who affront your efforts. Don't tell Dems "you need to try harder", tell the RW "you need to do what's right for Americans".