As Republicans and Democrats propose cuts in programs that actually benefit their constituents, they agree there's one area of the budget that's not to be touched: the annual $3 billion subsidy taxpayers provide to the Israeli military.
Obama clearly wants to score points with moderates and independents, but these are points that will likely never be tallied. Conservatives will never think he has cut enough, while progressives rightly deplore the ongoing "cavings in."
Democrats in the last Congress could have passed the 2011 budget, but they did not. They punted, leaving the door open for Republicans to do what they will with the budget for both this year and for FY 2012.
Obama is likely to lean more heavily on "reaching out" to Republicans. He knows full well that if anything legislative is going to get done in the next two years, Republicans are going to have to be on board.
Americans revere business as a pillar of the country's individualistic democracy. But in a world requiring a decent if not dominant public sector, that means they'll get the government they deserve -- not the one they need.
The only likely tea party in the Pentagon's future will be a sedate affair, when Republican leaders sit down with Pentagon heavies over a pot of Earl Grey and discuss how to keep U.S. military spending at the highest levels possible.
It's been easy for the Republicans to spend the last two years demonizing and obstructing the president. Well now the GOP has a share of the power, and they can no longer just sit back and throw rocks.
Today's GOP boasts of its plans to slash government spending and bleed social programs to their core. Can decent Americans of any political stripe really stomach the harsh reality if that rhetoric is put into practice?