Contra my own headline, this story is the ultimate non-surprise. Consider the evidence: We already know that (a) the president appointed a debt commission, then ignored its recommendations on ideological grounds; (b) the White House has already released its 2012 budget, which was so disastrous that it received zero votes in the Democrat-controlled Senate; (c) President Obama offered a grand new "vision" for entitlement reform in April, which conspicuously lacked any actual solutions; and (d) Democrats everywhere are deliberately avoiding committing to any plan of their own, opting instead to focus their attention on demagoguing and lying about Paul Ryan's responsible alternative. Against that backdrop, ta da! (Nice catch by ABC Newsman Jake Tapper, based on his exchange with White House Press Secretary Jay Carney):
TAPPER: In the meeting yesterday with House Republicans, a number of the House Republicans said to the president that they wanted him to introduce a budget that was score-able -- that CBO could actually assess -- instead of what he introduced, the broad outlines and the April speech at GW, and the president seemed to indicate he was not going to do that. You -- I think you said from the podium that he wanted something score-able that was part of a compromise, not his own separate budget proposal. Why not? If the Republicans in the House are saying it would help the negotiating process to have a score-able --
CARNEY: Well, we heard two things -- we heard two things from the Republicans yesterday: one from the speaker that we need to get these negotiations wrapped up and finished in the next few weeks, and that the president should put forward a new plan, a new proposal, that should make its way through Congress and be scored. I don't think those are compatible.
Everyone knows what the president's position is, what his plan is, the parameters of his plan. It's quite clear. The Democrats are aware of it. Republicans are aware of it. The president's spoken about it at length.
And that is what the vice president brought to the table for these negotiations. We are at a point now where we don't need new plans. We need to find common ground around the shared goal of significant deficit reduction and come together, hold hands, and agree that we're going to get this done and find as much common ground as we can in what the president believes needs to be a balanced approach towards deficit reduction -- because as I said earlier, it is not a goal unto itself.
Translation: Uh, we have a plan! (They don't). It's very clear! (By definition, it isn't) So, we don't need any, you know, score-able blueprints. We need bipartisan consensus! (Just like Simpson/Bowles?) Another gutless runaround from Democrats on entitlements -- color me shocked. Hey, no worries -- it's not as if Medicare is cataclysmically speeding toward insolvency, or anything.