Democrats say the Republican response is little more than faux outrage, and that the White House offer is simply how negotiations are conducted. …

Rep. Barney Frank (D-Mass.), for instance, called that premise “ridiculous,” and said that early offers have “no effect” on whether either side gets too dug in on cliff negotiations.

“What harm comes from him asking for more than he thinks he’s going to be able to get?” said Frank, who did not seek re-election this year. …

House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) even went so far as to agree that the president’s proposal looked little different than a Democratic wish list. …

“I don’t think it’s a take-it-or-leave-it offer. I think it is, frankly, responsive to what the Republicans said they wanted, which is a specific offer,” Hoyer added during his weekly press briefing in the Capitol. “That doesn’t mean they have to like the offer. It does mean that they should put a very specific offer back on the table.”