Kent Conrad Was Pretty Much The Reason Obama’s Deficit Panel Failed


In Bob Woodward’s new book The Price of Politics he’s critical of Obama’s handling of budget negotiations with Congress. On fact Woodward reveals is that Senator Kent Conrad, the self-styled “budget hawk” whose Senate Budget Committee hasn’t produced an actual budget for the last three years, instructed President Obama not to endorse the Simpson-Bowles plan.

What was Conrad’s brilliant strategy in doing so? He thought that if Obama endorsed it, Republicans would reflexively oppose it. What actually happened? Obama opposed it, and Republicans still opposed it anyway.

Outgoing Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., acknowledged Tuesday that he advised President Obama against embracing the recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson fiscal commission and said he did so because he feared an endorsement from the Democratic president would cause House Republicans to “reflexively” oppose the panel’s blueprint for deficit reduction.

“I said to him that if he just endorsed Simpson-Bowles, that House Republicans would then in all likelihood oppose it, and that it would be better, in my judgment, for him to make the case for why a comprehensive plan along the lines of Simpson-Bowles was needed,” Conrad told reporters Tuesday.

The counsel that Conrad provided came to light in the book “The Price of Politics” by veteran journalist Bob Woodward. Woodward’s book is critical of Obama’s leadership on deficit issues and in particular his strategy for dealing with Congress. Many pundits have criticized Obama’s decision to stop short of endorsing the December 2010 blueprint produced by the White House-appointed fiscal panel. Some view that decision as suggesting a lack of resolve by the president in tackling the long-term budget challenges.

Conrad has always positioned himself as a centrist and a moderate. The guy in the middle working to get both sides at the table. When the curtain is pulled back, however, he’s revealed as the hack that he is.

As I’ve long said, the budget process in Washington DC will be better off for not having Kent Conrad involved with it.

Rob Port is the editor of In 2011 he was a finalist for the Watch Dog of the Year from the Sam Adams Alliance and winner of the Americans For Prosperity Award for Online Excellence. In 2013 the Washington Post named SAB one of the nation's top state-based political blogs, and named Rob one of the state's best political reporters.

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  • Kevin Flanagan

    But, he is an orphan! Where is your humanity?

  • Roy_Bean

    I quit using that method on my kids when they were about 4 years old. He must figure that everyone but he and Dingy Harry are a bunch of morons. What’s really scarry is the thought that Barry actually listens to what he says.

  • Goon

    Good ole Conrad screwed up Obama and his legacy…

  • cylde

    How many other under the table back room sneaky deals has he made that you will never hear about?

  • Albert Lickenspittle

    Of course Rob the 700 billion the Republicans insist on for tax cuts for the rich is just irrelevant. You are a sorrowful lickspittle for the rich with no sense of reality. Just defeat the black man is your mantra. So get to work and spin.

    • toomuchguvmint

      So the greedy big government types fixated on confiscating all earnings and profits can spend money more responsibly than those who make an effort to honestly earn the cash? Check out the real black man Allan West before you accuse Rob of racism.

      • $8194357

        The difference is West is America first and Barry a communist.

    • Thresherman

      Your 700 billion is a Democratic created figure that is comprosed more of their self delusions that fiscal reality. Remember, these are the same people who claimed that if we only spent 800 billion in stimulus the uneployment rate would now be a little over 5%. But old Dickspittle still believes no matter how many times they have been proven wrong.

    • Deficit Hawk

      That 700 billion is over 10 years and is half of one years deficit. A 100% tax rate for all Americans won’t cover one year’s spending level. Once you understand this, you will see that we don’t have a revenue problem but rather a spending problem. But don’t let facts distort your reality.

  • $8194357

    ( When the curtain is pulled back, however, he’s revealed as the hack that he is)

    • two_amber_lamps
      • $8194357

        The folks behind the curtain have been destroying American soveriegnty since DC was incorperated into the olagarchy of the international elitist soviet structure we are today….
        No Longer a “Rule of Constitutional Law” soveriegn nation but a wholey owned subsiderary of one world progressives…

  • PhilGay

    Today’s Democrats are Communists, Today’s Republicans are Socialists. Wake up people! Follow the Constitution!

  • PhilGay

    Gaylord is a funny name ;)

    • $8194357

      Old English….
      Happy ruler?

    • philgray

      I prefer a real name, real person, instead of ROB_GADFLY allowing you to besmeerch my name…
      At least we know what ROB_GADFLY stands for…wake up people
      Just using you to go to his blogsite for money….and use you irrespective of political affiliation…
      The more hits, the more he makes….wake up people

  • PhilGay

    The people have lost control of their Senators as 85% of their campaign donations are out of state Big Businesses, are they representing us or corporations?. By repealing the 17th amendment, not having the election being a popular vote. Bringing it back to each state legislature electing the 2 senators we would bring back LOCAL CONTROL of our senators as the voices of the citizens would be louder & powerful. Stop the corruption!

    • philgray

      Guys…remember who is saying this…
      A known liar and cheat….who will take your names and bring dishonor…
      Of course….ROB_GADFLY knows this person’s name and allows this…
      Something to consider if you want to keep posting here…
      Rob allows a sexual smear to my name and he thinks post traumatic vet like me will allow it…
      And Rob calls me a lunatic and a non-entity..
      People ROB_GADFLY is making money off you coming here and making posts….
      there is an alternative coming soon….
      Alot better then the GADFLY allowing people to discredit a person…
      GADFLY is a good term for this…may have to come up with a few more…

  • mikemc1970

    I wouldn’t heap too much blame on Sen. Conrad. Obama is a spectacular failure, as a politician, as a leader, as a human being, and would have found another way to make this fail.