The Democrats Would Rather Captain A Sinking Ship Than Be First Mate On One That Can Float

There’s a huge, gaping hole in the bottom of the boat! We’ve got to get everyone down there to try to patch it and bucket out the water. It’s our only chance to keep from sinking!

What are you? stupid? This is our chance to get the passengers to mutiny and make us captain! We’ll just pretend that the hole’s not a problem and say that anyone who wants to fix it is an “extremist!” Everyone would rather relax with a few beers on deck anyway!

But, but…the boat will sink!

Sure, but we’ll be captain of the boat when it does! It isn’t worth it to be in charge when the whole thing goes down to the bottom of the ocean?

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Top Democrats in charge of keeping the Senate in Dem hands and maintaining the political health of the party – DSCC chair Patty Murray and messaging chief Chuck Schumer – have privately expressed frustration that deep Medicare cuts risk squandering the major political advantage Democrats have built up on the issue, people familiar with internal discussions say.

Senators Murray and Schumer, along with other Dems like Debbie Stabenow and Mark Begich, have warned against deep cuts in recent leadership meetings, a source familiar with the meetings says, another sign of the unrest that the possibility of serious entitlements cuts is creating among Congressional Democrats.

“We shouldn’t be giving away our advantage on Medicare,” said a source familiar with Murray’s thinking, in characterizing her objections in private meetings. “We should be very careful about giving away the biggest advantage we’ve had as Democrats in some time.”

“For the first time in the past two and a half years we have an unmitigated advantage on a single issue where our entire caucus is united,” the source continues. “This is a case where the whole morale of our party was lifted by the fact that we were taking the fight to Republicans.”

The frustration on the Senate side is mirrored on the House side. Sam Stein reported on Friday that DCCC chair Steve Israel privately vented his frustration that serious Medicare cuts would hamper his ability to recruit good Dem candidates to challenge House GOP incumbents. And a number of Dem challengers have already launched their campaigns by alluding to the GOP’s unpopular Medicare plan, a reminder of just how central top Dem strategists want it to remain through 2012.

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