If a Democrat had proposed a budget that radically cut the military, raised the top tax rate by nearly a third, ended all the wars, created a national health care system through a new payroll tax (thus relieving businesses of a huge financial burden), expanded EPA and food safety enforcement, and jacked up discretionary spending on education, scientific research, and more, and still yielded trillions of dollars in long-term savings, and then explained the document by saying, "This isn't a budget. This is a cause," do you think that that Democrat would have been hailed as "courageous" by any Republicans? Do you think that anyone in the media would have taken the thing seriously? Don't be fucking stupid. What would have happened is that most Democrats would have run away like beaten bitches afraid of Rush Limbaugh's switch, Republicans would have called it "un-American" and "the mostest radicalest budget that anyone has ever put out in the history of forever" and taken the word "cause" to mean "Marxist rape of your children," and Fox "news" would gone to TardCon 5 in demonizing everything: "Do you want the government telling you what diseases you can have? Do you want Barack Obama to decide how much shit should be on your chicken?" Paul Ryan's budget is not a serious document. It is, instead, a few pages of dried ejaculate on paper. It is a wishlist out of every conservative wet dream, and, as such, it is ballsy just how brazen it is. If nothing else, you can't say in the future that Republicans didn't warn us.
Rude goes on to predict sweeping Democratic capitulation to the rampaging Randroid Death-Eater Orc Teatard army. And what Democratic paying attention hasn't yanked their head bald and screamed themselves hoarse at the spectacle of such capitulation over the last fifteen years, after all? But I must say that the actual Democratic response so far has seemed to me more encouraging than not.
Pelosi is pulling on her Ninja mask and even dusting off her gavel when she thinks nobody is looking. Obama is making the suave opportunistic noises he makes when a minutely progressive outcome is in store rather than the lame opportunistic noises he makes when a massively reactionary outcome is in store. The surly unpaid natives of the left blogipelago and the lefty wonks both underpaid and overpaid are all holding hands without too much prodding rather as they did during Bush's electoral-capital-(heh heh)-squandering social security privapalooza debacle, and for the same reasons.
So, I dunno, I personally think this is looking more like a big win for us than not, knock wood.
Now, if we win the budget debate by arguing that cruelty isn't actually courageous and magical market thinking isn't actually serious (which rather looks like the way the case is shaping up so far to my delighted surprise) then this looks like a big win that can also yield longer-term benefits in the larger ongoing this-shouldn't-be-so-goddamned-hard effort to get Democrats to remember who they are and Americans more generally to remember why they are all Democrats, except for a few white-racists, would-be theocrats, patriarchal pricks, and rich assholes everybody actually hates.
If, failing that, we win the budget debate in a way that does nothing else but also simply managing to get folks to stop calling that doll-eyed dolt Randroid Ryan an Exciting Up and Coming Leader with Big Ideas I will be quite pleased enough.