Now that the dust is settling from Friday night’s Perils-of-Pauline budget deal averting a federal government shutdown, the posturing and punditry over “who won” is coming fast and thick.
Within party ranks, the analysis is mostly predictable.
Republicans are rallying around Speaker John Boehner, who managed to wrangle his rambunctious caucus into some kind of order – especially the 87 tea party-fueled freshmen itching to whack huge chunks out of federal spending.
“We have…forced the Senate’s hand and will require them to take an up-or-down vote on repealing ObamaCare and on de-funding Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of abortions,” Rep. Jack Kingston (R) of Georgia said in a statement. “We have blocked the increased funding for the Internal Revenue Service and banned taxpayer funding of abortion in the District of Columbia. While this package isn’t a good year’s work, it certainly is a good day’s work.”
“John Boehner got a lot of spending reductions that Republicans wanted, [and] moved Democrats much closer to where the Republican position was,” he said.
“Boehner achieved much of his substantive policy objectives, but he also gained a great deal of stature,” John Pitney, a political scientist at Claremont-McKenna College, told the Monitor’s Gail Russell Chaddock. “This was his battlefield commission – his first big confrontation as Speaker, and he came out well.”
Not everybody in the Republican caucus was happy.
“I appreciate the speaker’s effort. I just don’t like the final product,” Rep. Jim Jordan (R) of Ohio, chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, told Politico.com. “I’ll be voting no, heck yeah.”
Liberal Democrats weren’t particularly happy with the outcome either.
"The American people have been told the agreement contains both 'historic' and 'painful' cuts. The question will be painful for whom,” said Rep. George Miller (D) of California in a statement. "Poor and middle class families have already received more than their fair share of pain in this economy while the wealthy and special interests have paid no price.”
In all, 42 Democrats and 28 Republicans in the House voted against the budget deal – generally those to the right of Boehner and those to the left of Obama and Democratic congressional leaders.
To many observers, Obama himself came off as the responsible adult.
“The president looks like the referee,” Democratic strategist Jenny Backus told Daily Beast Washington bureau chief and CNN host Howard Kurtz. “He brings the warring kids into the Oval to negotiate a deal.”
As for Obama’s detached negotiating style, Backus told Kurtz, “He stayed out of it long enough that he doesn’t own the mess.”
But as Winston Churchill said in the dark days of World War II, “Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Even higher hurdles remain: A vote on the debt ceiling and hammering out spending levels for FY 2012. By comparison, catching up with the last few months of FY 2011 was relatively piddling.
“Much more has to be done to put our nation on a true path to prosperity,” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, (R) of Wisconsin said in the GOP’s Saturday radio address. “Earlier this week, the House Budget Committee advanced a new [FY 2012] budget for the United States government that will move the debate in Washington from billions in spending cuts to trillions."
Still, the agreement reached Friday night was, as President Obama said in his Saturday radio address, “the biggest annual spending cut in history.”
“Like any compromise, this required everyone to give ground on issues that were important to them. I certainly did,” he said. “Some of the cuts we agreed to will be painful – programs people rely on will be cut back; needed infrastructure projects will be delayed. And I would not have made these cuts in better circumstances.”