There are cheery faces and upbeat appraisals from the White House and Capitol Hill on the prospects of a grand bargain. You do sort of get the sense that both sides are developing faux amnesia so that their respective bases can make a deal. After all, if they make pretty much the same deal they could have done in the summer of 2011, the president in particular would look really silly.
So you get a lot of reports these days that insist that since Nov. 6, "when Obama won re-election and Democrats made gains in the House and Senate on a pledge to make the rich "pay their fair share," Republicans have backed down from the fight. On Friday, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, acknowledged the need for fresh revenue to restrain a public debt that has swollen to dangerous levels as long as Democrats agree to tackle the rising cost of Medicare and Medicaid, the biggest drivers of future borrowing. Well this actually occurred in the summer of 2011 when President Obama fumbled away a deal that included $800 billion in new revenue offered up by Speaker Boehner.
On one hand Republicans get mileage from offering something "new." (Not really, but shhh!). Liberals can crow that the election forced Republicans to put revenue on the table. (That's a story that mainstream media like very much, since they never credited Republicans in 2011 with putting revenue on the table first in the grand bargain negotiations and then in the supercommittee.) Boehner and Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., who proposed new revenue in the supercommittee, must be getting a chuckle.