Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell agreed on this much: There’s no room in the new deficit-cutting “Supercommittee of 12” for members of the Senate’s “Gang of Six.”
The bipartisan “gang” spent several months drawing up a blueprint to reduce budget deficits by $3.7 trillion to $4.7 trillion over a decade. And for those thankless and informal efforts, these gang members will have a seat on the sidelines as the focus turns to a House-Senate supercommittee that has been granted actual legislative authority.
This was gang warfare, all right. And we can all tell which gang lost — no matter how nice a face Sen. Mike Crapo tried to paint on the situation.
Through a spokesman, Idaho’s senior senator said he was “fine” with McConnell’s decision to name three other Senate Republicans. He went out of his way to remind anyone who would listen that last year, McConnell had appointed him to a seat on President Barack Obama’s bipartisan deficit commission, which, in turn, gave birth to the Gang of Six.
And, said Crapo spokesman Lindsay Nothern, the Gang of Six remains alive and well. “Crapo feels he will be able to join the other Gang of Six members and continue their consensus work among fellow senators and will have an influence on budget decisions being considered by the new supercommittee.”
I don’t think so.
In politics, you’re either in position to exert power, or you aren’t. The Gang of Six was given no position to advance its plan. It’s that simple. Whether that was a decision made consciously by Reid and McConnell — and I’m not enough of a mob-movie buff to suggest these two rival dons conspired to whack the Gang of Six — is really just academic.
And whether Crapo actually wanted a seat on the supercommittee is also a matter of academics. Publicly, he was lukewarm. “I’m not sure whether I would like to be on the committee,” he told IdahoReporter.com last week. “It’s a thankless task, but it’s an important task. I would certainly accept the opportunity if I were offered, (but) no, I don’t have an expectation one way or the other.”
To read the complete column, visit www.idahostatesman.com.