Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Gergen, Among Many

Reviewing one of the recent commentaries from silly, yet well respected CNN Senior Political Analyst David Gergen, Digby comments

Yes, it's true that the Republicans are a little bit wacky but that's not the real problem. The roadblock is that the president just has not agreed to hurt enough people for the elite centrist pundit's taste. And that's after the president agreed to throw Social Security on the pyre despite the fact that Social Security contributes nothing to this allegedly deadly deficit. 

I am no fan of the Tea Party. But I don't think they are the real problem. They are, after all, doing what their voters want them to do, however ill-advised that might be. No, our real problem is David Gergen and his ilk.

The font of Washington Wisdom had written

And that's a big part of the problem -- no one can be confident that our national leaders are still capable of governing responsibly. And in the process, they are putting both our economy and our international reputation at risk.

President Barack Obama had rightly hoped that the elections would clear the air; they haven't. If anything, the recent squabbling over the federal budget has injected fresh poison into relationships and dimmed prospects for other bipartisan agreements in the next few years, starting with hopes for a "grand bargain"in 2013.

The President insists he remains an optimist, but if he and Republicans can't agree on how to bring the nation's finances under control -- something fundamental to the welfare of the country -- why should we have faith they will succeed on other important issues like energy, education, immigration and gun safety?

As the blame game heats up, Republicans are sure to pay the biggest price with the public. It was bad enough that they lost the message fight, letting themselves be painted as protectors of the wealthy. But it was inexcusable when they revolted against House Speaker John Boehner in his search for a way forward: that only reinforced a narrative that the Grand Old Party has fallen hostage to its right wing -- a narrative that already exacted a huge price in the fall elections.

Most voters -- I am among them -- believe the country needs a center-right party but will not support an extremist party.

President Obama is certainly not blameless in these financial talks. Early on, he overplayed his hand, alienating rank-and-file Republicans. Like Boehner, he has been more accommodating recently, offering concessions on taxes and entitlement spending that narrowed the negotiating gap between the parties, even as his leftward allies fretted.

Still, Boehner has a point in arguing that what Obama now has on the table comes nowhere close to what the he was advocating in the election season: a ratio of 2.5 dollars in spending cuts to 1.0 dollars in tax increases.

The buck stops on the President's desk, so that ordinarily one would expect him to take the lead in these final days before January 1. For reasons that are still unclear, he instead chose in his press statement late Friday to toss responsibility for negotiations next week into the laps of Congressional leaders.

They are putting both our economy and our international reputation at risk, says the eminent font of Washington Wisdom.  (The exemplars of Washington Wisdom always put down Washington; it establishes their SERIOUSNESS and bipartisan bonafides.)      No deal and everyone falls off the cliff.  That was, in the way of the elite of the field, immediately after Gergen remarks

What in the world is gripping Washington?  Everywhere one turns- from finances to guns to nominations- there is madness in the air.

With time rapidly running out, efforts have collapsed to reach a major agreement on federal spending and taxes before year's end, and both Congress and President are leaving town for the holiday.  At best, they will return next week and construct a small bridge over the "fiscal cliff"; at worst, they won't.  But who knows?

The temptation is to suggest that no one better embodies that "madness in the air" than David Gergen.   But that would be giving him too much credit.    Digby ponders

Either they don't know that going over the fiscal cliff will go a long way toward closing this deadly deficit they fear so much or they just want to ensure that the deficit is closed on the backs of the poor, the old and the sick. I'll let you decide if these people are really stupid or just selfish and cruel.

I vote "selfish and cruel." Gergen- who is 70- won't have to subsist on Social Security to get by in his later years.  He is neither a construction worker, plumber, or retail clerk pulling down minimum wage and at the mercy of her employer.  Individuals such as himself can go on working forever expounding on the great issues of the day for a living.   And he surely knows that by terms of the Budget Control Act of 2011 set to go in to effect on January 2, the Bush-era tax cuts are rescinded and federal spending bludgeoned.  In approximately ten years, spending would be cut approximately $1.2 trillion and revenues increased by roughly the same, lowering the dreaded deficit substantially.  Yet, the fellow who so wants "the nation's finances (to be brought) under control" believes inaction (defined as failure to reach bipartisan agreement) represents "madness in the air."

The problem (among many) is that President Obama often has seemed anxious to please the Village.   Gergen characteristically advocates on guns "a national conversation to see what can be sensibly done," tracking closely the position of the President, who always is in favor of "a national conversation," and had been silent on the issue until the events at Sandy Hook Elementary.   (Even now the President echoes Gergen's fealty to the Supreme Court's faulty interpretation of the Second Amendment.)  It would be refreshing to see the President reject the conventional, wrongheaded  wisdom of the Establishment in favor of the sentiments of the people who actually advocated, worked for, or at least voted for, his re-election.  But unlikely.


                                                  MERRY CHRISTMAS

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