Republican Insiders Doubt a Grand Bargain Will Be Reached

Michael Catalini, Naureen Khan and Peter Bell

How politically advantageous will the upcoming budget process be to your party?


Very: 19%
Somewhat: 39%
Hardly at all: 42%


“The Senate budget will look much more reasonable to moderate voters than the House budget.”

“The Ryan Republicans have satisfied their base and no one else. Fighting the election all over again is a mistake on their part.”

“Let’s see—are you better off addressing the needs of the 98 percent of Americans or the top 2 percent? I like the Democrats’ numbers a lot better.”


“The ‘charm offensive’ by the president is good—shows he is sincere in trying to get a deal.”

“It’s a Democratic win if they hold firm on saving Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, and Republicans resist revenue from the rich.”

“To a certain extent, it’s a pox on both parties, but Democrats will continue to have an edge over Republican extremism, obstinacy, and protection of the very rich.”

“It’s 50-50. The public is frustrated and can turn on either party at any moment.”

“If the president does not overplay his hand and appear too partisan, the moderates will continue to shift to Democrats.”

Hardly at all

“Too much noise and too many issues jammed into one vote-a-rama becomes a snooze-a-rama for most Americans.”

“The budget process is designed to fail and—surprise, surprise—it will.”

“While Republicans still seem to be the intransigent party, the country is looking to the president for leadership, and all they see is finger-pointing and showmanship. No win is a big loss.”

“The public is tired of all the BS. They barely blinked and shrugged their shoulders at sequestration. What if you had a government and no one cared? That is where we are at.”

“Collectively, we’ve said the sky is falling, and voters are tired of the claim.”


How politically advantageous will the upcoming budget process be to your party?


Very: 25%
Somewhat: 46%
Hardly at all: 29%


“2013 budget amendments pave the way for 2014 campaign ads!”

“A sequester not resulting in roaming hordes of homeless autistic children, teacher-less classrooms, and seniors eating cat food puts a stake in the heart of the Democrats’ Big Lie: ‘Every dollar we spend
is essential to your survival.’ ”

“When Republicans can focus on the size, scope, operations, and growth of government, they benefit.”


“Despite Democrats’ attempts to demonize [Rep. Paul] Ryan, the president is late with his budget, and the Senate plan doesn’t balance over 10 years. The Democrats do not appear to be serious.”

“It’s fraught with peril, but if we seize it as an opportunity to get on the right side of a middle-class growth and reform agenda, it could help us.”

“The president’s numbers are the ones sinking like a stone.”

“Republicans are still better off debating government spending than anything else these days—most of the country knows we are sailors at the bar, even if they enjoy it.”

“Obama has overplayed his hand, and he’s starting to make us seem reasonable.”

Hardly at all

“If the GOP continues to allow policy wonks to wax poetic and debate the finer points of policy without applying a human communications effort, the GOP will take the brunt of negatives.”

“Individual Americans have never voted based upon macro
budget issues.”

“Just more of the same D.C. dysfunction.”

“Voters are tired of the whole mess, and, regardless of the outcome—unless they part the Red Sea—the whole thing doesn’t matter.”


How likely is it that Congress and the president will reach a so-called grand bargain on budget targets?


Very likely: 4%
Somewhat likely: 39%
Somewhat unlikely: 31%
Very unlikely: 27%

Very likely

“It’s past time to govern. The next battle will be in the polling booths.”

Somewhat likely

“Last week I thought the GOP couldn’t live with the blame, but they seem to like the punishment.”

“Self-interest is a powerful motivator.”

“The question is, can Obama peel off 60 to 80 Republicans in the House and keep most of his House and Senate Democrats inside the tent ... and will [House Speaker John] Boehner allow a vote?”

“On the surface, they both want it over—but beneath the surface, both sides want to win politically. Only if both think they are losing will a deal get done.”

“I’m more hopeful after the week of bipartisan communication. But the real driver will be the sequester fallout down the road.”

Somewhat unlikely

“A bad relationship is hard to fix.”

“Isn’t the next election less than two years away?”

“The president’s charm attack at least opens the door; however, Paul Ryan’s Medicare attack keeps it from opening all the way.”

“Past is prologue. Unless leadership takes a deep breath and realizes that a grand bargain is in the country’s best interests, then we will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis.”

Very unlikely

“Both sides are just too far apart—on raising revenue and on entitlements.”

“Seoul and Pyongyang?”

“Grand bargain will result in Boehner becoming the former speaker; and, therefore, it’s not going to happen!”


How likely is it that Congress and the president will reach a so-called grand bargain on budget targets?


Very likely: 1%
Somewhat likely: 19%
Somewhat unlikely: 44%
Very unlikely: 35%

Somewhat likely

“At some point, reason has to take over.”

“A rare political misstep by the White House—[it] assumed people would care about sequester cuts—opens the window to get a bigger deal done.”

“Big-business tax deductions have a bull’s-eye on them. Can K Street protect them?”

Somewhat unlikely

“A grand bargain would trade entitlement reform for new revenues. Too many members on both sides are too dug in on those topics to allow a grand bargain.”

“Incrementalism, kicking the can down the road, is too embedded.”

“President Obama will be unable to sell necessary entitlement cuts to his own party.”

“A grand bargain requires trust. Republicans don’t trust Obama on taxes, and Democrats don’t trust Obama on entitlements.”

“I’m still skeptical this president is capable of putting the national interest ahead of his political interest. His current charm offensive came only because his poll numbers declined. ’Nuff said.”

“2014 is already on many minds.”

Very unlikely

“Doubt that is what O really wants.”

“GOP has no reason to trust the president or make further concessions on tax increases. Nor should they.”

“The president is unwilling to go about the laborious task of working his own Democratic caucus on Capitol Hill to sell a deal.”

“The president will posture, but he won’t bend. His prime goal: Pin the obstructionist button on the GOP.”

“Like betting on a dead horse.”


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