Not that it matters that much, but you can't tell the actors in this Kubuki play without a Playbill.
Top Republican congressional leaders have appointed six conservatives to the "super committee" that is charged with reducing the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
Speaker John Boehner has appointed Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) as the House GOP members of the panel.
Hensarling will be co-chairman of the committee. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also announced Wednesday the Senate Republican members: Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio.
As it stands, every Republican member of the deficit reduction committee has signed tax activist Grover Norquist's pledge not to raise taxes, making it increasingly unlikely that any real tax revenues will be on the table as the committee tries to meet a Thanksgiving deadline.
A few eyebrows were raised that Rep. Paul Ryan wasn't put on the committee. Apparently, Ryan is a smarter politician than many might give him credit for; he declined the dubious honor:
Ryan said in a statement that he asked Boehner not to consider him for the committee, so he could focus on long term policies aimed at reducing the debt. "If we are truly going to put the country's fiscal house in order, it will not be enough to temporarily reduce what Washington spends. We must permanently reform the process by which working Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are spent," Ryan said.
The two sides are diametrically opposed to one another. Dems won't cut entitlements - even with massive tax increases - and the GOP won't raise taxes even with massive Medicare cuts. The "Super Committee," as I mentioned previously, is set up to fail. That means that either Congress will vote to stave off the massive, across the board spending cuts promised in the debt deal, or there will be a lot of angry Americans.
What congress does, congress can undo. Keep that in mind as this process goes forward.