The kabuki theater going on over John Boehner’s Plan B is truly a wonder. Unlike some others, I don’t think there’s any mystery about why Boehner suddenly abandoned negotiations with President Obama and introduced his Plan B legislation. It’s because, once again, he got sabotaged by his own party. The same way that Eric Cantor and the tea party caucus just flatly wouldn’t vote for a compromise debt ceiling bill last year, they flatly won’t vote for a compromise fiscal cliff bill this year. Without the votes of the crazies, Boehner was stuck, so he introduced Plan B as a face-saving way of wriggling out of negotiations with the White House.
But it turns out that the crazies won’t even support Plan B. So now Boehner is larding it up with conservative catnip to try and pry loose some votes. And just what is it that conservatives want? Cuts in entitlements, as they’ve been claiming? Nope. Matt Yglesias takes a look at what’s been tacked on:
When John Boehner needs to add spending cuts to a deficit reduction bill to make his most conservative members happy, they don’t want to reindex Social Security benefits. They don’t want to monkey with the Medicare eligibility age. That’s not the stuff that gets them jazzed up. Taking food out of the mouths of hungry children, by contrast, is something they’re excited about. They’re eager to reduce regulation on banks and cut back on poor people’s health care. Cutting spending on the elderly is something they’ll maybe consider as part of a deal with Obama. Cutting spending on the poor is their idea of Christmas.
Conservatives don’t want to cut entitlements. They don’t want to cut defense. They don’t really want to cut spending on the FBI or roads or ag subsidies. Actions speak louder than words, and it turns out that what they really want is goodies for corporations and the rich and fewer of their tax dollars going to the indolent, undeserving poor. Ho ho ho.