By David Dayen
Controversy has broken out because one progressive group dared to call out the House Democratic Leader on a dangerous tactical game she has been playing for the last several months.
The story goes like this: Republicans have habitually bashed President Obama for not backing the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction plan in a formal recommendation to Congress. Republicans don’t care about the deficit, but in this way they can criticize the President on this issue that they pretend to care about. The truth is that Republicans could never accept the Bowles-Simpson plan, because it raises taxes by $2 trillion. In fact, when it came up in the House for a vote, it got thrashed by both parties, gaining only a handful of votes. But Nancy Pelosi saw an opportunity to wedge the Republicans on this and make them look unreasonable. So she has been loudly pronouncing to anyone who will listen over the past couple months that she would have voted for Bowles-Simpson herself, which I guess she feels makes her look more reasonable to the Washington establishment.
Only problem: Bowles-Simpson also includes a range of cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. And by playing footsie with it, Pelosi makes it easier for Democrats to go along.