A recently translated Qumran fragment contains an element of the story of Moses on Mt. Sinai that somehow failed to make it through the redaction process.
And it came to pass after forty days, that Moses descended from the mountain, and spake unto the Children of Israel, saying, “Verily, I bring unto you good news, and I bring also bad news.”
And the Children of Israel spoke with one voice, saying, “Tell unto us the good news first.”
And Moses replied and said, “I got Him down to ten.”
And the Children of Israel said unto Moses, “That is indeed good news. O Moses, is the bad news as bad as the good news is good?”
And the face of Moses was grave as he replied, “Yea, verily.”
And the Children of Israel moaned, and said, “Tell unto us the bad news.”
And Moses wept, saying, “Adultery’s still on the list.”
Bargaining, as Moses discovered, is a process of give and take. One reason the continuing resolution/debt ceiling imbroglio has been so hard to resolve – above and beyond the fundamental institutional insanity of the Republican Party – has been that the Teahadis started out with a list of ridiculous demands, and set the process up so that doing the normal and necessary things required to keep the government functioning counted as a “concession” on their part, which needed, for their honor, to be “balanced” by some concession from the President and the Democrats.
That, it seems to me, is the background to the Democrats’ sudden demand that the sequester budget levels be put on the bargaining table, and Lindsay Graham’s whining about “moving the goalposts.”
Of course, it would be wonderful if the poll numbers had really made the Republicans desperate enough to concede something on spending. But in any case, the bargaining range is no longer between the Republicans’ extortion demands and the Democrats’ refusal to pay ransom, in which case a clean CR and debt ceiling extension would count as a complete defeat for the Republicans. Now the bargaining range contains actual concessions by Republicans, which makes the obvious, logical, rational outcome to the whole unnecessary affair a compromise.
No need need to thank us, Mr. Speaker. All part of our service with a smile.