According to a senior Senate Dem leadership aide, Dem leaders have concluded that the GOP leadership is genuinely, irrevocably “entrenched” in their no-revenues posture. They believe the only hope for a long term compromise involving new revenues and entitlement cuts is to continue to try and pry loose Republicans who recognize that being the party of only spending cuts, and the economic damage they may cause over time, is a long term loser for the GOP.
“We do think the Republican leadership is completely entrenched,” this aide tells me. “If Boehner makes one false move, he loses his speakership. McConnell is paranoid about a primary challenge from the right.” However, this aide adds, other Senate Republicans “don’t want to be portrayed as the party of austerity. They know this isn’t a winning message long term.”
As Jonathan Chait details, there’s also the question of how long the GOP’s defense hawks will put up with sequester cuts, which are now likely to remain in effect for months. These lawmakers are already restive and signaling an appetite for compromise. Democrats will continue reaching out to these lawmakers — and others whose communities are being harmed by the sequester — in hopes of fomenting more dissent among them about the GOP leadership’s no-revenues-at-any-costs stance — and will continue telling them that a compromise on revenues is a reasonable way out.