President Barack Obama took a gamble when he handed Congressional leaders his proposed budget and told them to fill in the details.
“Now, wait just a minute” and “No dice” are phrases coming not from Republicans, but from members of the president’s own party.
The first kick in the teeth of Obama’s health-care reform dreams came from the chairmen of the House and Senate tax-writing committees – Charles Rangel (D-NY) and Max Baucus (D-MT).
The two Democrats have objected to Obama’s plan to limit tax deductions for the wealthiest 1.2 percent of taxpayers in order to pay for such reform. Their objection? Charities will be hurt.
The White House pushed back, saying “the impact on charitable giving would be small.”
Democratic leaders are chipping away at other Obama proposals involving energy, climate change, Medicare, Medicaid and subsidies to big farmers and agribusiness - in apparent constituency- or regional-oriented biases and outright power struggles.
Once more, nothing best expresses this inner-party struggle like the words of Walt Kelly’s “Pogo:” “We have met the enemy, and he is us.”
An article by New York Times writers Jackie Calmes and Carl Hulse - “Obama’s Budget Faces Test Among Party Barons” – exposes this inner-party conflict and is essential to understanding what Obama is up against.
Unless, of course, you’re a Democrat and just want to go ahead and shoot yourself in the foot and get it over with.