Far worse for Democrats than the failure of the supercommittee is the failure of their narrative about the supercommittee. It goes like this: The Republicans wanted to protect the rich They wanted just to cut and cut. They were intransigent. The supercommittee was a failure. President Obama (who signed on to the deal to create the supercommittee) knew it was going to fail so he stayed away.
The only part of it that is true is that Obama stayed away for fear of getting blamed. Another Obama profile in courage. The rest of the Democrats’ spin, as we are learning, simply isn’t so, which doesn’t, of course, prevent liberal pundits from saying it. But still. Let’s at least get the facts straight.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) confirms the Republicans’ version of events. Politico reports: “Durbin also had praise for Republican colleague Pat Toomey (Pa.), who as a supercommittee member had delivered a plan to reduce the deficit. ‘I got in trouble because I said it was a breakthrough when he did it … I said it’s terrible, but it has revenue in it,’ said Durbin. ‘Credit to Senator Toomey for putting it on the table.’ ” Oops — narrative fail!
Toomey fleshes this out in an interview with the Weekly Standard:
“There was a moment there, a 24-hour period, when several Democrats expressed a great deal of interest in the framework I laid out” . . . .
Then the [Democratic] committee members, I think, checked in with some of their Senate colleagues and really allowed themselves to be swayed by the left-wing of their caucus. They backed off, retreated, from the progress we made that night. And from that moment on, it never felt like we were close.”
As part of a broader plan to rein in entitlement spending and reform the tax code, Toomey had offered to raise tax revenues $250 billion over 10 years. “What I said was, we should set a goal of getting all the tax rates lower by 20 percent — across the board ... And then let’s find the combination of deductions that we would diminish, and exclusions that we would treat as taxable income,” Toomey recalls. “I was willing to accept that the $250 billion ... revenue increase would come from the top two [tax] brackets, which was another huge concession to the Democrats. That by definition makes the tax code more progressive.”
Oops — major narrative fail for the left. No one on the supercommittee is disputing Toomey’s version. And no Democrat is able to come forward with their counteroffer — because they didn’t make one.
It is interesting that the Republicans are being explicit about what they offered, and the Democrats are being so tight-lipped. That sure tells us who has a better story to tell.
The major yawn from the public and the bond ratings at the failure of the supercommittee (who expected anything different?) is also a narrative fail for the Democrats. In order to rail against Congress, Obama must argue that the Republicans doomed the debt commission and then all sorts of bad things happened. Actually, the bad things happened before this: 9 percent unemployment, the addition of $4 trillion to the debt and anemic growth. (Gross domestic product for the third quarter was revised downward to 2 percent.)
Obama is going to whine to the country that it’s all the Republicans fault. Unfortunately for him and his spin squad, it’s not true and it sounds like an admission of failed leadership. And it is.