President Barack Obama released his budget plan, which calls for tens of billions of dollars of program cuts mixed with tax increases. The Republicans countered with their plan specifying nine figures of cuts only, and Ron Paul, well, he just wants to invade China, give them a proper thrashing and take all our money back. Meaning that although we're less than two months deep into the 112th Congress, looks like business as usual.
Abstract theory time is over now and actual programs are being singled out for devastation, decimation and elimination, and as we all know, one man's pork is another man's paycheck. But this is about symbolism, not jobs. Tea partyers were promised $100 billion in cuts and they're going to get $100 billion in cuts, even though Charlie Sheen has a better chance of being appointed St. Sebastian's Girls School choir chaperone on a field trip to Vegas than the GOP proposal has of surviving a presidential veto.
Nevertheless, conservatives are cementing their ideological bona fides by rounding up the usual suspects and painting budgetary crosshairs on the faces of their mortal enemies: the EPA, AmeriCorps, public broadcasting, and Amtrak. The ugly little secret being that spending at the Pentagon will rise and nobody needs talk about Social Security or Medicare until experts have analyzed the polls on this present skirmish at least a gazilliondy times.
As expected, folks have taken to each other's plan like a pod of giant squid to hot-air ballooning. Obama continues his tap dance down the middle. The right whines he hasn't cut deep enough and the left pouts he's gone too far. He compares the GOP strategy to a dieter who vows to lose 30 pounds and does so by cutting off a leg. And the Repubs fire back that he's a girly man scared to make the tough decisions, who could provide better leadership by curling into a fetal position behind the couch.
While the adversaries bristle and posture in public like male porcupines in pre-mating heat, Obama remains confident he can find common ground with the GOP leadership in private. Good luck. Considering the smug intransigence of the Boehner clan, that sounds like the political equivalent of pinning your hopes to escape a burning building on tying together the sleeves of a vest.
The New York Times says Emmy-nominated comedian and writer Will Durst is "quite possibly the best political satirist working in the country today," and the Chicago Tribune calls him a "hysterical hybrid of Hunter S. Thompson and Charles Osgood." Follow his blog on Red Room to find out about his upcoming stand-up and television performances and to buy his book, "The All-American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing: Common Sense Rantings From a Raging Moderate."