For the last two years, debate over the deficit has dominated political discourse in Washington, driven by a Republican majority in the House. Along the way voters’ main concern --- policies that create jobs --- has been sidelined as Democrats have concentrated on defending the entitlement programs, primarily Medicare and Social Security, that Republicans have targeted for reform.
However, that may be about to change. Senator Patty Murray, the Democratic Chair of the Budget Committee, is not as respectful of the need to build coalitions as her predecessor. Murray is a conviction politician, and she feels her middle-class constituency is being betrayed by a callous GOP caucus more interested in abstract arguments about deficit reduction than the human costs of a damaged welfare system.