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The debt 'plan:' Few details. Lots of spin. Uncertainty

Tweaks to Medicare. No tax increases. A delayed vote on the tough decisions. More wrangling. Little detail (yet).

Now that he announced a debt deal, President Obama and every pol running for every major office has to explain their positions and why.

"Now, is this the deal I would have preferred?  No, " Obama said.  (Michele Bachmann looks like a hell no, and Jon Huntsman was a reluctant yes).

This appears certain right now: $900 billion is being added to $14 trillion in debt. About $1 trillion is supposed to be cut, but we'll see if that really happens. 

The bill wasn't immediately available after Obama's remarks. When deals are hatched in secrecy, there's often mischief and sloppiness. And there's opportunity. If Congress says no, Obama could decide to raise the debt ceiling on his own and see if he gets sued. 

 A White House talking-point 'fact sheet'was released an hour and 20 minutes after he spoke. 

From AP's breaking story

Racing the clock to avoid a government default, President Barack Obama and Republican congressional leaders reached historic agreement Sunday night on a compromise to permit vital U.S. borrowing by the Treasury in exchange for more than $2 trillion in long-term spending cuts.

Officials said Speaker John Boehner telephoned Obama at mid-evening to say the agreement had been struck.

No votes were expected in either house of Congress until Monday at the earliest, to give rank and file lawmakers to review the package.

Here's the text of Obama's speech. In some ways, this sounds similar to a Sen. Bill Nelson proposal late last week when he called for a two-step plan. John Boehner's point of view is here.

In the short-term, the deal looks like a GOP win. All cuts, it seems. So the debate about the stimulus (spending out of a recession) is officially dead this campaign season. The Bush-era tax cuts, though, expire without an affirmative Congressional vote, or Obama's signature. That could be a liberal/centrist trump card.

Now a "Supercommittee" will come up with recommendations. Congress is to vote up or down on that debt plan (without a Senate filibuster threat it appears).

"This would be an election year disaster for both parties," former Republican Ark. Gov. Mike Huckabee said on FOX moments after the announcement. He said Repubs would balk at cutting defense. Dems would be worried about Medicare cuts. 'But maybe that's why it works,' he said.

And yes, both parties are to blame and drip with hypocrisy. But Republican members of Congress were more vocal about debt under Obama than under Bush, when the GOP repeatedly voted in lockstep to raise the debt ceiling.

Here's why: Two wars. Tax cuts. A new Medicare entitlement program. A bank bailout. All under a Republican president. Then came Obama, the stimulus and the effects of rescuing Detroit. And Dems then voted to temporarily keep the Bush-era tax cuts that they're now partly targeting.

Eat cake. Lose weight. 

If Congress stalls on this plan, President Obama, who has taken a beating in the polls, could use this as an opportunity to campaign against the much-loathed body of pols (if not the entire Republican Party). Or it could be a "disaster" for him, too. Right now, his policy positions have been on the right side of public opinion. But that hasn't helped so far.

In some ways, polls are the problem because the American people are a big part of the problem. Polls show we want no major cuts, no tax increases and more spending on pricey programs we like. Congress is doing what any smart pol does: panders.

And we eat it up like cake. But we don't lose weight.

Hold the peas, Mr. President.

Comments

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whasup

I'm watching the HBO docu-drama about the TARP bailout as I hear this deal being announced.

Looks like we're building another house of cards that will eventually fail, but we're hoping we can keep finding more decks of cards to ever so delicately add to the pile ... and nobody better exhale.

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