“If you look at history of how these deals get done, typically it’s not because there’s an Obama plan out there. Its’ because Democrats and Republican are serious about dealing with [these issues] in a serious way,” the president said. “This is not a matter of you go first or I go first,” he said before describing a goal of “everybody…ultimately getting in that boat at the same time so it doesn’t tip over.”
Kent Conrad, one of Sullivan's "brave" deficit hawks, is also aboard with the presidential soft shoe:
Senator Kent Conrad of North Dakota, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee and a Democratic member of the fiscal commission, said: “In this highly partisan environment, if the president proposes something, there is automatically some group that is opposed. It may be better for him to play the role of referee.”And on the same page: Robert Greenstein of the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities:
Mr. Conrad added: “To get a result, the president has got to be part of a larger process that involves Republicans and Democrats, the House and Senate. How one gets to the table is not just one move, it’s a series of moves. And it’s very, very difficult.”
...had the budget included a large array of specific proposals for longer-term deficit reduction — ranging from increased taxes to changes in Social Security — that likely would have made it harder, not easier, for the Administration and Congress to eventually reach bipartisan agreement on those matters. Specific presidential proposals would have invited immediate attacks from lawmakers across the political spectrum and almost certainly led to pledges by scores or hundreds of members of Congress never to agree to them. That, in turn, would have made it harder for negotiators to reach agreement on large, longer-term deficit-reduction measures. A goal at this point should be to keep policymakers from taking various specific proposals off the table before negotiations even commence.
That problem occurs even in normal political times. But, these are not normal political times. The atmosphere is far more toxic, and the tendency to launch immediate incendiary attacks on specific deficit-reduction proposals for political gain far greater, than in the past when successful bipartisan negotiations took place.