This story from the New York Times paints a picture of a “business as usual” budget negotiation, where lobbyists are working the key players to get side deals that mean tens of millions for clients while the concerns of the conservative base and the Tea party volunteers are shunted aside.
No wonder then that the House GOP leadership faces a rising revolt against the deal, fueled by analytics from deeply respected sources that put the “real cuts” at less than $14 billion. Part of the anger is the idea that, once again, Beltway elites thought the voters who sent them could be fooled. It is one thing to lose, another to be told you’d won by people who think you are too dense to know the difference. The “deal” is now being branded as a ruse, and freshmen who vote for it risk enormous damage to their credibility.
What a fiasco, and still the hits keep coming. Here’s a Politico story about an embarrassing billion dollar error that cut all AIDs and STD prevention funding. This is the sort of human error that doesn’t tell you anything about ideology, only about the frenzied atmosphere that gripped the negotiating team and its staff, the sort of “false crisis” atmosphere into which lobbyists walk and work with careful precision, their conversations and appeals drowning out the demands of the Caucus and the base, obscuring the real agenda and setting up the members for a political blowback even as the lobbyists clink glasses and declare themselves satisfied with an extraordinary effort.
“Send me some senators with gonads” Senator Coburn remarked on my show yesterday. It looks like it is going to take much more than that.