There are huge political benefits for President Obama and Republicans in the Senate and Congress from a large scale deal that would cut some $4 trillion from the federal deficit and offer a tax reform package as well that would reduce rates and eliminate many loopholes particularly for upper income tax payers. It is less clear that this would benefit Democrats in Congress, but arguably there could well be benefits to the Party as well.
The Democrats and Republicans have similar problems. The Democrats and President Obama are both perceived as being too liberal, not sufficiently committed to cutting spending, and committed to raising taxes and tax rates.
If Democrats are able to agree to $4 trillion in cuts, with cuts to entitlements, defense, and discretionary spending, that would go a long way to winning back independent votes whose support has been literally trending away from the Party since the 2008 election. It would also address many of the concerns that have been expressed that the president is too far to the left and is not willing to embrace fiscal discipline as part of his overall economic agenda.
The downside for the Democrats in Congress is that the cuts in entitlements, in particular Social Security and Medicare, will take away one of their most potent arguments going into the 2012 Congressional elections-- an argument that was already effective in 2011 to winning an upset victory in the special election in New York's 26th Congressional district. That argument is that the Democrats are committed to protecting Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, come what may, and that the Republicans want to eviscerate both programs. A deal would take that argument off the table and weaken the core message of Democratic House and Senate candidates.
Republicans will undeniably gain a benefit as well, because such a deal would present them with a substantial victory on their top goal of cutting spending and reducing the deficit.
But that being said, the Tea Party staked out a position against raising any taxes that will almost certainly oppose strongly any effort to raise additional revenue, even if it is linked to the $4 trillion deficit reduction. The more conservative wing of the Republican party, the Republican Study Committee, has advocated deeper cuts, very, very strict spending caps, as well as a balanced budget amendment, an approach that, while however attractive to their constituency, is not practical.
Bottom line, there is a lot for the American people in a deal. There's also a huge amount for the president and there's even a clear path to victory. Republicans could potentially even winning the Senate while holding the majority in the House. All this is possible if both sides are able to get past impediments in their own party to achieve this goal.
Douglas E. Schoen is a political strategist and Fox News contributor. His most recent book is "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System" published by Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins.