Revealed: Why Reid will allow Murray to produce a budget

posted at 3:51 pm on January 24, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Alternate headline: Second look at Kent Conrad?  We’ve given the retired chair of the Senate Budget Committee plenty of grief over the last three-plus years for not producing a budget, but perhaps we were a little hasty.  According to Roll Call’s report on the sudden Democratic urge to budget, there was a reason Harry Reid kept Conrad from actually doing his job, although you have to read past the jump to find it:

In addition to Democrats’ willingness to take the political risks that a budget represents, sources said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., trusts Murray to keep the party’s best political interests in mind. He did not feel the same way about Conrad, a chart-loving budget wonk who seemed uninterested in the political implications of budget policy.

Kent Conrad sucked at managing bills,” said the senior Democratic aide — unaffiliated with Murray’s office — who noted that the North Dakota Democrat was “bad at political calculations” and “a true budget policy wonk.”

“Murray is not that person,” the aide said.

So Murray is not a budget wonk who really knows her stuff.  She’s also not an independent voice on budget matters, but a reliable political hack who will front for Reid rather than produce an honest budget by working with Republicans.  It’s nice to have that openly admitted, but still rather discouraging for those of us who hope for a rational approach to eliminating deficits and putting safety-net programs on a responsible, fully-funded path.

By the way, despite public denials, the ongoing effort by Republicans to point out how many days it’s been since the Senate Budget Committee and the upper chamber complied with the law on budgeting forced an end to the obstructionism:

Some sources familiar with the process said the hammering Democrats have taken for not producing a budget in more than 1,000 days did not factor into the decision, but at least one senior Democratic aide said the GOP barrage was one of three major reasons for Senate Democrats’ change of heart on the matter.

“There are a number of things at play — one is the perception that the ‘Senate Democrats haven’t done a budget in x many days.’[It’s] a clumsy argument but one that people are beginning to gravitate toward,” the aide said. “And there’s an awareness of this as a message Republicans used that gained traction.”

The argument isn’t clumsy — but the defense certainly has been.  Reid and Democrats tried to argue that continuing resolutions are the same as budgets, but after more than 1350 days, no one’s buying that rebuttal any longer.  With the resolution to the tax rates now in the rear-view mirror, Reid lost his last excuse — but with Conrad also in the past, he can now use a reliably malleable mouthpiece to get what he wants.


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big deal… too little too late…

Khun Joe on January 24, 2013 at 3:53 PM

Stupidity is a virtue to democrats.

Flange on January 24, 2013 at 3:55 PM

Patty Murry? Good Lord the Woman is an imbecile…. Oh, yeah, that’s the point…

sandee on January 24, 2013 at 3:56 PM

It’s nice to have that openly admitted, but still rather discouraging for those of us who hope for a rational approach to eliminating deficits and putting safety-net programs on a responsible, fully-funded path.

Schumer’s already said this is a great opportunity to jack up taxes again (pardon me, increase revenues).

The GOP has “cleverly” convinced the Democrats to produce a budget but getting them to take our financial woes seriously is another matter entirely.

gwelf on January 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Ezra Klein to whine about this in….?

I thought progressives were “fact based” and “practical realists” yada yada yada. Who knew they were really just political hacks?

gwelf on January 24, 2013 at 3:59 PM

sources said Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., trusts Murray to keep the party’s best political interests in mind. He did not feel the same way about Conrad, a chart-loving budget wonk who seemed uninterested in the political implications of budget policy.

Corrupt Harry Reid gets more and more vile every day. Screw the country, nothing matters but the Party.

rbj on January 24, 2013 at 4:01 PM

On the plus side she’s one of the better looking donks.

c’mon! I’m trying to be nice!

DanMan on January 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

I think the Democrats feel confident they can sell an extremely communist budget to the people. The Republicans think thats what tehy’ll do and it won’t work. After this past November, I don’t know anymore.

We’re all communist now!

cw10036 on January 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

So another big nothing burger from the Dimwits in the Senate. Another great day for our country. /

rsherwd65 on January 24, 2013 at 4:05 PM

Murray is an idiot. Her entire education is a degree in recreation from WSU. She was voted dumbest senator five straight times.

JamesB on January 24, 2013 at 4:07 PM

Revealed: Why Reid will allow Murray to produce a budget

Yeah, Patty will represent her state well…all twelve
of them with an IQ above a shoelace.

ToddPA on January 24, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Worth rereading – Ann Coulter on The Stupidest Person in America

Drained Brain on January 24, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Ultimately, What Difference Does it Make?

Lily on January 24, 2013 at 4:11 PM

I call BS on this, Reid could have dumped Conrad as Budget Committee chair anytime he wanted to. This was about a successful PR campaign by the Republicans that was making the Dems up for reelection next year very nervous. All the “Fix the Debt” gorups and good-government people out there clamoring for an end to government-by-crisis have added to the pressure. He caved because his position had become untenable.

I do think it is telling that he put Patty Murray in charge of the budget, an area where she has zero expertise, and just by coincidence she chaired the DSCC last cycle.

rockmom on January 24, 2013 at 4:12 PM

I cannot wait to see what Murray produces.
Not only the end product, but the way she gets there.

BTW. Anyone critical of her work will be tagged with the “war on Women” bs

Jabberwock on January 24, 2013 at 4:16 PM

It’s nice to have that openly admitted, but still rather discouraging for those of us who hope for a rational approach to eliminating deficits and putting safety-net programs on a responsible, fully-funded path.

What about those of us who want to see a rational approach to eliminating deficits and putting safety-net programs on a responsible bath to being eliminated and letting local communities provide for their local citizens without federal government involvement? Sorry, folks, but Medicare is as unconstitutional as Obamacare.

Shump on January 24, 2013 at 4:22 PM

As Jabberwock points out…..”woman” as a cudgel. But I noticed it was either Durbin or Schumer who announced they were going to do a budget with tax increases! (Sorry MAM, I can’t remember which one but they are interchangeable.)

CoffeeLover on January 24, 2013 at 4:22 PM

First last night they admit abortion is the taking of life, now today they admit that the budget is all politics. They are removing their own masks.

Typical hacks, rsap what you sow.

D-fusit on January 24, 2013 at 4:24 PM

A squirrel would have a hard time trying to figure out which one of these two would be the best square meal. The electorate had a chance to make this country better, and they blew it. Nuts on the right and nuts on the left, the country is in bad shape.

savage24 on January 24, 2013 at 4:24 PM

rsap = reap
damn fat fingers.

D-fusit on January 24, 2013 at 4:26 PM

On the plus side she’s one of the better looking donks.

c’mon! I’m trying to be nice!

DanMan on January 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

You are either roaring drunk, blind as a cave fish, or in an urgent need of being laid. Patty Murray might be prettier than Janet Reno but so is my hairy butt.

Archivarix on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Time to stock up on popcorn!

Can’t wait to see Senator Patty Murray try to explain basic budget concepts to the American people.

Bring it on!

wren on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

let me guess– a joke of a budget that consists of more massive tax increases, “balanced” by massive defense cuts and nothing else

Patty Murray is an idiot among dunces in the Senate– the fact that they’re pushing this uncharismatic loser front and center because she’s a token female is laughable

She’s become the DWS of the Senate

thurman on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I call BS on this, Reid could have dumped Conrad as Budget Committee chair anytime he wanted to.

Kent Conrad was on the same page Harry Reid was. He absolutely believed the continuing resolution mechanizism authorized spending as a regular budget would (and ultimately did). He made that case everythime he was asked about it. He may be a budget wonk but he really liked the status quo he was operating under.

DanMan on January 24, 2013 at 4:34 PM

Archivarix on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

I’ll cop to 1 and 3 on occasion but I was being cozmo level sarcastic and figured I didn’t need a / tag

DanMan on January 24, 2013 at 4:41 PM

Why is it that people claim that they hate the politics in Washington… and then go vote for people whose SOLE motivation is politics? These Democrats can’t be bothered to make a budget because it’s part of their job or because they owe it to the American people to spend our money wisely. Nope. It’s because they’re worried that their political rivals are gonna get a leg up on the issue. Sheesh.

Murf76 on January 24, 2013 at 4:50 PM

Let’s give a shout out to the WA Tea Party and Sarah Palin for three more years of The Soccer Mom In Tennis Shoes–Patty Murray !!!! YAY!

Mr. Arrogant on January 24, 2013 at 5:10 PM

What difference–at this point–does a budget make!

Their passe. We’ve proven we can run the government without them! (Just an 800 billion slush fund to the pres.)

Axeman on January 24, 2013 at 5:34 PM

If a “brain game” contest was held between the mensa’s of the house and senate who would win?

Murray vs Hank Johnston?

Maybe we could give Guam (before it tips over) to the winner.

acyl72 on January 24, 2013 at 5:37 PM

Bill Murray is producing a Senate budget? Cool….oh it’s not him…never mind.

simkeith on January 24, 2013 at 5:54 PM

The GOP has “cleverly” convinced the Democrats to produce a budget but getting them to take our financial woes seriously is another matter entirely.

gwelf on January 24, 2013 at 3:58 PM

Comment of the Day™

Steve Eggleston on January 24, 2013 at 6:09 PM

On the plus side she’s one of the better looking donks.

c’mon! I’m trying to be nice!

DanMan on January 24, 2013 at 4:03 PM

You are either roaring drunk, blind as a cave fish, or in an urgent need of being laid. Patty Murray might be prettier than Janet Reno but so is my hairy butt.

Archivarix on January 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

Point of order – “better looking” is relative. Murray merely turns one into molasses instead of stone.

Steve Eggleston on January 24, 2013 at 6:11 PM

In addition to Democrats’ willingness to take the political risks that a budget represents,…

Therein lies the rub. Calling the nuts and bolts of responsible money management — a budget — a “political risk” should be a hint as to the first step in finding a solution to this entire mess. When that sort of thinking gains acceptance, we’re taking on too much water.

P Opus on January 24, 2013 at 6:49 PM

Patty Murry? Good Lord the Woman is an imbecile….

sandee on January 24, 2013 at 3:56 PM

Redundant. I know since I used to work for the Department of Redundancy Department.

Hows about some dis-continuing resolutions. Maybe throw in some dis-continuing career d-bag politicians, as well.

ghostwalker1 on January 24, 2013 at 7:53 PM

The last thing Harry Reid wants is a budget down on paper. Can’t hide the RED INK then.

GarandFan on January 24, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Were there no walls available?

tom daschle concerned on January 24, 2013 at 8:53 PM