As Digby pointed out today, Mrs. Greenspan and John Heilemann were all aflutter over the possibility of some grand bargain being struck between John Boehner and the Obama administration on "reforming" Social Security. Go read the whole post at Hullabaloo, but I'll just add that if the administration is actually buying the fact that John Boehner can be trusted to control his TeaBircher caucus or the outside groups that will attack the administration if they make cuts to Social Security, they're living in la la land.
And if they think this is a good move politically when the public is overwhelmingly against making cuts to Social Security, they're living in some sort of alternative universe as well. Raise the income cap on the tax and long-term shortfall is solved. All the bipartisan fetishism in the world from the Villagers isn't going to bring the public around to believing that ordinary people are ever going to warm up to the idea that most of us should have to work until we're dead so that millionaires and billionaires don't have to make any "shared sacrifice" and be asked to pay more in taxes to solve our deficit problems -- and that it should instead be solved by refusing to put the money borrowed against it back into the trust fund.
Transcript via Digby.
Andrea Mitchell: Washington may be closer than we thought to doing something real about the long term budget deficit. House speaker John Boehner has reportedly given President his word that he will not exploit the politically charged issue of entitlements if Obama takes the lead.
New York Magazine national political columnist John Heilman joins me.
This could be a whole new era! Entitlement reform, on the table, in this coming budget year? What are the chances?
Heilman: I think the chances are pretty good although I don't think it's going to happen the way that Speaker Boehner would like it to happen. I don't see a whole lot of pressure on the president to do what Speaker Boehner would like to do which is to say, go first. You know, we saw in the Wall Street Journal poll in the last couple of days there's not a lot of public pressure to take on these entitlement programs and to the extent there is public pressure it's coming from the Republican base.
So I think the White House taken the attitude that they are ready to address these issues, but the Republican party is the party that's going to have to go first and I think Speaker Boehner is going to have to do that if they are going to make this progress. I think he's going to feel forced to by his constituents in the Republican party who want to see this happen.
Mitchell: Of course, the alternative is that both the White House and the Speaker stand off and play a game of "after you Alphonse" and nobody does anything and we reach a critical point here.
Heilman: Well, that's certainly possible and you know look, as I say, the White House is comfortable politically with waiting.
And look, I think the truth is that I think the president actually believes that something has to happen on this and the question of sequencing is a political question. I think it's a matter of long term policy and in fact is a matter of long term politics.
It's in the interest of both the White House and the Republican Party to eventually figure out a way as they skirmish around and figure out who's going to go first and who's going to go second and who's going to have whose back. Eventually it's in all their interest to walk off this cliff together, so to speak, although that metaphor suggests that it's in no one's interest.
Heilman: I think it is in their interest to get this off the table politically. The White House would love to have deficit reduction off the table politically in 2012 because that's the only thing Republicans have to run against President Obama on.