December 3, 2012

 * Josh Barro on the lack of specifics in John Boehner’s new offer, when it comes to both spending cuts and revenue increases. Also, Steve Benen. It needs to be said that even if there is no chance whatsoever that the GOP will ever except Obama’s plan, it still contains specific proposals when it comes to cutting spending and generating new revenues, and the GOP offer mostly doesn’t. Those who claim the two proposals are equally “unserious” are missing this basic difference.

That said, it’s a start that the GOP put forth today’s proposal, because it’s at least a step in the direction of Republicans telling us what they want, rather than asking Dems to do all the proposing. And by the way, the White House opening bid wasn’t a “compromise,” so we shouldn’t expect the Republican offer to constitute one, either. We just need to know what Republicans expect, specifically, in the way of spending cuts. But so far, we still only have a specific “ask” from one side.

* The White House response to Boehner’s offer:

The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. [...]

 

Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.

* The GOP offer claims to be modeled on “the Bowles plan,” but that came as news to Erskine Bowles. Seems the reference to Bowles was meant to create an aura of bipartisan seriousness around the GOP offer.

* Like Jed Lewison, I find it hard to see how Republicans will be able to vote against extending the middle class tax cuts if Dems take the plunge over the cliff, particularly after this election, but who knows?

* Liberals will be cheered by this paragraph:

White House officials are now making a concerted effort to learn from their mistakes, presenting an early offer that asks for nearly everything that Democrats want, while refusing to outline any specific cuts or entitlement reforms. They also are making a concerted effort to communicate more effectively with liberal leaders.

 * That said, read Digby on why liberals should be cautiously encouraged by the White House’s hard line on taxes, but also on why the various moving parts mean Dems could still give ground on entitlement benefits later.

* Puzzled by what Beltway analysts mean when they call proposals “serious” and “unserious”? Kevin Drum provides some useful lexicology.

 * Beth Reinard: The GOP must embrace science to survive. It would be good for the rest of us, too.

* Don’t miss Philip Rucker’s painful look at Mitt Romney’s post-campaign seclusion, which is spent partly devouring the news he’d hoped to shape, thousands of miles from the office he’d hoped to inhabit.

* This detail from the post-campaign Romney story is really striking:

By all accounts, the past month has been most difficult on Romney’s wife, Ann, who friends said believed up until the end that ascending to the White House was their destiny. They said she has been crying in private and trying to get back to riding her horses.

As Jonathan Capehart notes, Ms. Romney had to learn the hard way that the presidency is earned.

What else?

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.