Robert Kuttner, right on as usual:
The tactical problem is that the Republicans and Democrats aren't playing the same game. So if the Democrats meet the Republicans half way, the Republicans only demand that they do it again. House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi is identified as media enemy number one because she rejects this nonsense.
The tactical asymmetry connects to the substantive problem -- the fact that the solution to what ails the economy is somewhere to the left of most Democrats, not midway between, say, President Obama and Mitch McConnell. The economy will be fixed only with more public investment, more progressive taxation, and more regulation, but partisan compromise dictates less of each.
Our President, unfortunately, has played right into this trap, with creations such as the bipartisan panel on fiscal reform and responsibility, which will very likely come out with a plan to narrow the federal deficit by slashing what's left of public investment. The whole tilt of this commission is somewhere between conservative Democrat and far-right Republican.
Obama started out as a wishful post-partisan. His post-partisanship, in the face of Republican obstructionism, handed the mid-term election to his enemies. Now he is still trying to be post-partisan, but in even worse terrain.
To get a sense of what the Commission's two chairmen, Wall Street Democrat Erskine Bowles and wacko Republican Alan Simpson, would like to do, consider the proposal that they have been circulating. This would begin cutting the deficit in just 10 months, whether or not the economy is in recovery. The plan would gratuitously cut Social Security benefits, not raise taxes on the wealthy, and use spending cuts for about two-thirds of the proposed deficit reduction.
For an antidote to this economically insane medicine, have a look at the counterproposal written by three progressive think tanks, which proposes recovery first. A similar manifesto, by the Citizens Budget Commission, has just been released as an explicit alternative to the official commission's expected report. (Disclosure: I am involved with both efforts.)
The latest incarnation of the bipartisan delusion is an organization calling itself "No Labels." This is not an anti-designer consumer protest, but a political organization advertising the conceit that there is something virtuous per se about being post-partisan, never mind the content.[...]
Spare me! Is Joe Lieberman, one of the great hacks of American politics, anybody's idea of a fresh thinker?
Come to think of it, what exactly is Galston's "third force" a third way between?
The original Third Way, Sweden, was advertised as somewhere between communism and capitalism. More recent third-way organizations, like the Democratic Leadership Council, have positioned themselves midway between Democratic liberals and business conservatives. As the presidential Democratic Party keeps moving right-of-center, the third way people now position themselves in between neutered Democrats and far-right resurgent Republicans.
You can see where this leads. But it sure is popular with financiers and the elite press.
...the next phase of American politics will be Republican faux-populist loonies versus fat-cat post-partisans.
I keep thinking of Yeats. "The best lack all conviction while the worst are full of passionate intensity." A real progressive, with courage and convictions, could expose these people as false messiahs.
Excerpted probably too heavily from the full article published here
According to Digby, all this deficit hysteria is just Republicans trying to avoid the debate of whether we should tax the rich again, or do more to create jobs. Part of their whole purely opportunist sabotage efforts. (Too bad we have what appears to be a gullible President with little courage to be brave and disliked, and so the entirely predictable Republican strategy continues working.)
And just for kicks, here is some vintage Robert Kuttner, also showing Sean Hannity to be the complete ass that he is: