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Upcoming Republican Sweep May Offer Obama Second Chance For ‘Grand Bargain’

According to numerous polls and a general consensus among the chattertariat, the Republican Party is set to sweep this year’s midterm congressional elections – keeping control of the House of Representatives and likely taking over the Senate. Economic discontent combined with predictions of a more conservative voting demographic appears to doom the Democratic Party’s hopes of keeping control of at least one chamber of congress.

While some are lamenting the likely loss, even questioning the need for midterms altogether, one person who may be seeing an opportunity in the GOP takeover is President Barack Obama. A Republican controlled Congress could provide the opening for Obama to pursue his much sought after “Grand Bargain” on social security and medicare.

Part of the reason the first proposal fell through was opposition from Senate Democrats to reducing entitlement benefits such as slowing the rate of growth in social benefits by having payment levels connected to the Consumer Price Index or “chained CPI.” Democrats also opposed Obama’s interest in enacting the programs offered by the Wall Street friendly Simpson-Bowles commission.

But with a Republican controlled House and Senate and a termed-out presidency the dynamics of the game are different. Under those circumstances President Obama can offer his perpetual defense of needing to work within practical limitations when he attacks basic liberal principles. And that because polls will undoubtedly show the American want something to get done he has the mandate, nay the responsibility, to cut entitlements in exchange for modest and likely fraudulent concessions by the Republicans on corporate tax rates and loopholes.

The GOP may take the deal both because it satisfies their austerity agenda and will prevent their 2016 candidate from having to run on the issue. The Republicans would also likely enjoy the specter of Senate Democrats being forced to either filibuster a reform bill from their own president or betray their own principles and the promises they made their constituents.

CommunityThe Bullpen

Upcoming Republican Sweep May Offer Obama Second Chance For ‘Grand Bargain’

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According to numerous polls and a general consensus among the chattertariat, the Republican Party is set to sweep this year’s midterm congressional elections – keeping control of the House of Representatives and likely taking over the Senate. Economic discontent combined with predictions of a more conservative voting demographic appears to doom the Democratic Party’s hopes of keeping control of at least one chamber of congress.

While some are lamenting the likely loss, even questioning the need for midterms altogether, one person who may be seeing an opportunity in the GOP takeover is President Barack Obama. A Republican controlled Congress could provide the opening for Obama to pursue his much sought after “Grand Bargain” on social security and medicare.

Part of the reason the first proposal fell through was opposition from Senate Democrats to reducing entitlement benefits such as slowing the rate of growth in social benefits by having payment levels connected to the Consumer Price Index or “chained CPI.” Democrats also opposed Obama’s interest in enacting the programs offered by the Wall Street friendly Simpson-Bowles commission.

But with a Republican controlled House and Senate and a termed-out presidency the dynamics of the game are different. Under those circumstances President Obama can offer his perpetual defense of needing to work within practical limitations when he attacks basic liberal principles. And that because polls will undoubtedly show the American want something to get done he has the mandate, nay the responsibility, to cut entitlements in exchange for modest and likely fraudulent concessions by the Republicans on corporate tax rates and loopholes.

The GOP may take the deal both because it satisfies their austerity agenda and will prevent their 2016 candidate from having to run on the issue. The Republicans would also likely enjoy the specter of Senate Democrats being forced to either filibuster a reform bill from their own president or betray their own principles and the promises they made their constituents.

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Jane Hamsher

Jane Hamsher

Jane is the founder of Firedoglake.com. Her work has also appeared on the Huffington Post, Alternet and The American Prospect. She’s the author of the best selling book Killer Instinct and has produced such films Natural Born Killers and Permanent Midnight. She lives in Washington DC.
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