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The sleeves of a vest - Will Durst

This is but a snapshot. A frozen moment in time, guaranteed to transmogrify on an hourly basis. So, knowing the situation is fluid, here's your daily budget update, and if I were you, I'd find a nice comfy chair to plop down into, because this promises to be more frustrating than translating Sanskrit into Japanese using Morse code smoke signals in the rain.

President Obama released HIS budget plan, which calls for tens of billions of dollars of program cuts mixed with tax increases.

The Republicans countered with THEIR plan specifying nine figures of cuts only, and Ron Paul, well, he just wants to invade China, give them a proper thrashing and take all our money back. Meaning that, although we're less than two months deep into the 112th Congress, looks like business as usual.

Abstract-theory time is over now and actual programs are being singled out for devastation, decimation and elimination, and as we all know: One man's pork is another man's paycheck.

But this is about symbolism, not jobs. Tea Partiers were promised $100 billion in cuts and they're going to get $100 billion in cuts, even though Charlie Sheen has a better chance of being appointed St. Sebastian's Girls School choir chaperone on a field trip to Vegas, than the GOP proposal has of surviving a presidential veto.

Nevertheless, conservatives are cementing their ideological bona fides by rounding up the usual suspects and painting budgetary crosshairs on the faces of their mortal enemies: the EPA, AmeriCorps, Public Broadcasting, and Amtrak.

The ugly little secret being -- spending at the Pentagon will rise and no one need talk about Social Security or Medicare, until experts have analyzed the polls on this present skirmish, at least a gazillion times.

As expected, folks have taken to each other's plan like a pod of giant squid to hot-air ballooning.

Obama continues his tap dance down the middle. The Right whines he hasn't cut deep enough and The Left pouts he's gone too far.

He compares the GOP strategy to a dieter who vows to lose 30 pounds, and does so by cutting off a leg. And the Repubs fire back he's a girly man scared to make the tough decisions, who could provide better leadership by curling into a fetal position and hiding behind the couch.

Congress has to pass a spending bill before March 4, or the entire government shuts down, which wouldn't be so bad if it weren't for that whole roads and hospitals and customs and air-traffic controllers thing.

Everyone agrees the gulf between the two combatants is wide, but a new fiscal reality is here to stay and will affect education, security and agriculture, meaning more students per class, fewer cops on the streets and larger pieces of pig hoof in your wiener.

While the adversaries bristle and posture in public like male porcupines in pre-mating heat, Obama remains confident he can find common ground with the GOP leadership in private.

Good Luck. Considering the smug intransigence of the Boehner Clan, that sounds like the political equivalent of pinning your hopes to escape a burning building on tying together the sleeves of a vest.

Will Durst is a political comedian, who has performed around the world, and is a familiar pundit on television and radio. E-mail Will at durst@caglecartoons.com.