Muted Celebration

This Wonkblog post makes a good point, and it’s the reason that the proposed deal to end the government shutdown and raise the debt ceiling is merely a cause for relief,  not necessarily celebration:

The mistake Republicans made was thinking that what worked from them in 2011 was simply the hostage taking. What worked for them in 2011 was winning in 2010. What made 2013 impossible was that they’d lost in 2012.

But Republicans should feel good about one thing: This process has been a reminder of how powerful that 2011 deal was and remains for them. Democrats are agreeing to fund the government at a level far beneath what they consider acceptable. Over the weekend, it became clear that Democrats are genuinely worried about sequestration’s 2014 cuts, which trigger on January 15th (the Senate deal is designed so the government funding runs out just as the new cuts trigger — which is to say, its timed to make the next fight a fight over sequestration.)

As Grover Norquist told me, with his characteristic understatement, “Sequester is the big win. It defines the decade.” (my emphasis)

Basically, what we are looking at this morning is a deal to avert disaster and put things back on the less disastrous but still basically terrible path we were on. The agreement (if the House goes along) still leads to diminishing funding for adult education and other federal discretionary programs for many years down the road.