I'm clearly frustrated with Obama's deficit plan. And last week, I was frustrated with Obama's budget compromise. But as Kevin Drum points out here, the rhetoric of the budget compromise was actually much worse than the actual deal, with over 20 billion of the cuts coming from areas that were going to be cut anyway, or cuts that the Democrats supported, or funds that were never going to be spent. It seems that the Tea Partiers got rolled by a combination of their own leadership and the White House, and only picked up a surprisingly-low $11 billion in discretionary cuts. Given the GOP's huge House majority and willingness to play government-shutdown chicken, this is a pretty good result for liberals.
And here's Kevin Drum again, pointing to some interesting language in the text of Obama's speech -- in particular, what appears to be a vow to veto the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy when they come back to the table. (In my defense, I never read or listen to speeches.) Drum's final conclusion is right: if Obama is determined to veto the tax cuts for the rich next time around, there's a very good chance he'll have to veto the "middle class" cuts with it, which would put the entire federal government on much firmer fiscal footing than anyone has been predicting. Including myself, in my very last post.
I'd prefer the administration adopt progressive positions in both rhetoric and practice, but if I have to choose between the two, I can tolerate some rhetorical budget hawkery that disguises progressive policy outcomes. This is definitely something I'd be happy to be wrong about.