Washington (CNN) - Thought bubble: The White House removing chained CPI from their budget arguably shows that Washington is even more cynical than "House of Cards."
The plot lines are similar between today's headlines and the first few episodes of the second season of the Netflix show, in which lawmakers raise the age of retirement to 68. Specifically, Democratic leaders push a Republican proposal to raise to the retirement age through Congress even after Republicans, out of pique, abandon negotiations.
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The thinking in the show isn't that Democrats think raising the retirement age is the right thing to do (that's just gravy). No, they want to isolate Republicans.
In real life, the entitlement reform of the analogy is chained CPI.
What's chained CPI? It is tying Social Security cost of living growth to the slower moving inflation rate. It wouldn't slow growth as much as the "House of Cards" idea of raising the retirement age. But it would slow growth.
So it turns out the real-life politicians aren't so smart or devious or whatever you think as they are in the show. They're not as effective either.
You don't see Joe Biden and Barack Obama doing the big policy move despite their lack of a political dancing partner. Instead they're dropping chained CPI from their budget proposal.
If you take a wider view, there is an example of Democrats pushing through a Republican idea without any help from Republicans: Obamacare.
The main tenets of that law – a market-based insurance industry where insurance companies have to cover everyone in exchange for everyone getting covered – were Republican ideas back in the 1990s. But by the time Democrats were pushing them in 2009, Republicans had abandoned them. Democrats pushed Obamacare through the Senate and House without any Republican support.
And note to Frank Underwood, the Svengali vice president in "House of Cards," it backfired on Democrats in the next election.
The show, by the way, is being devoured in D.C. at such a pace that an informal survey of the CNN Washington newsroom suggests the Internet can't keep up during prime time.
Next thought bubble: House of Cards' treatment of Senate procedure is downright criminal. You'd never see the Senate Sergeant at Arms actually clap the majority leader in cuffs and force him to vote.