Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) says he and the other members of the Senate's bipartisan "Gang of Six" are close to coming up with a compromise plan to shrink the federal deficit — and it might include cuts to Social Security. That would put Durbin, a reliable progressive and the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, at odds with Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and most of his caucus. But Durbin says his fellow Democrats understand the severity of our budget woes and will realize that making marginal changes to Social Security now is better than facing cuts for everyone decades down the road. Will other Democrats sign on?
Democrats will never go along with this madness: "Who ate Dick Durbin's brain?" asks John Amato at Crooks & Liars. It's bad enough having a Gang of Six with "five conservatives in it and only one progressive," but if the one progressive starts spouting right-wing "garbage," Senate Democrats should ignore him. "Social Security is not the cause of the federal deficit."
"Who stole Dick Durbin's brain?"
The Left may have no choice but to cave: A mere three weeks ago, Durbin insisted that Social Security be left untouched — so "what changed?" asks Ed Morrissey in Hot Air. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) "moved the national conversation" and "opened up a debate on his terms" for entitlement reform. So "Durbin’s putting his money on the Gang of Six," and if other Democrats don't follow him now, "a lot of political careers will fall off a cliff before Social Security does."
"Durbin breaks from Dems on Social Security"
Durbin's just playing bad cop: If you're a Democrat, "there is an argument that can be made in favor of trading Social Security cuts for tax increases," says Martin Longman in Booman Tribune. But Republicans will never agree to raising taxes on the rich, and Democrats will probably reject cuts to Social Security. At the same time, though, "both sides want to appear reasonable" and open to compromise. So Durbin flirts with backing cuts, and a conservative makes noise about possible tax hikes — but we're not actually any closer to a deal.
"Dick Durbin gets to play the bad guy"