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Finally: Democrats to Offer Debt Plan, "Utter Capitulation" to GOP Demands?

How's this for a double-barreled political victory to brighten your Monday? 

Win #1: Harry Reid's Senate Democrats will reportedly unveil a debt plan of their own this week.  Finally.  (This is not a budget, mind you.  Why break the 817-day streak on that front?)


Win #2: The new (rumored) Democratic plan overwhelmingly adheres to Republicans' key demands on the debt ceiling:

While little has congealed on the Democratic side, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is working on a plan to cut $2.7 trillion from the deficit over the next decade and extend U.S. borrowing authority into 2013. The plan, so far, would not raise revenue and does not appear to tackle entitlements, though aides said more details will be available later Monday. 

We'll need to see the details, of course, but a Democratic plan calling for more than two-and-a-half trillion in cuts without any tax increases must be viewed as a clean-cut win for conservatives.  House Republicans will offer a more appealing plan, but the new fall-back, worst-case scenario is a deal that does not violate the GOP's two core negotiating stances from day one.  Liberals are beginning to bittely resign themselves to this reality.  The Atlantic's Joshua Green:
Democrats have capitulated utterly to Republican demands. Recall that last Tuesday, the bipartisan Gang of Six proposal included $2 trillion of revenue increases. Now, having offered to give this up, Democrats are sure to get no revenue.  As bad as this deal is for Democrats, it could have been worse (and could still get worse). Reid's deal would lift the debt ceiling through the 2012 election, so there wouldn't be another shakedown -- although John Boehner's counterproposal is built on a short-term raise that would require further cuts. Reid's proposal also protects the two sacred cows of entitlements and taxes.
Lefty WaPo blogger, Ezra Klein:
John Boehner is proposing a deal with about $1 trillion in spending cuts and a short-term increase in the debt ceiling and a bipartisan congressional committee charged with developing a large deficit reduction package that would be immune to amendments and filibusters and would be the price of the next increase in the debt ceiling. Harry Reid is developing a package of spending cuts that Democrats could accept and would reach Boehner's $2.4 trillion mark. If you take the Republicans' goals as avoiding a deal in which they have to vote for tax increases and denying Obama a political victory, it looks like they have succeeded.
Green and Klein both point out that Reid's deal provides a number of fig leaves for Democrats:  Their beloved tax hikes on the current Bush rates remain on schedule, the debt ceiling issue won't arise again until after the 2012 election, and their party won't have agreed to any entitlement reforms -- liberating them to use Mediscare as a primary campaign tactic next year.  Still, on balance, this appears to be a major political and policy win for Republicans.  If it comes to pass -- which may be reliant on the president backing down from his current, politically insane, posture -- this outcome would be a major feather in Speaker Boehner's cap.  He and Sen. McConnell's leadership would have maintained admirable party unity, wrung massive concessions from Democrats, and prevented a default or downgrade -- all while holding a hyperbolic, hostile press corps at bay. 
I'll repeat: The devil may still lurk in the details, so let's withhold some judgment for the moment.  But if these new reports are accurate, I'll happily admit that I absolutely did not see this coming.  A pretty thorough rout.

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