A number of us have argued that the facts plainly reveal that Republicans are far more to blame than Obama and Democrats for the current crisis. The GOP’s explicit position is that no compromise solution of any kind is acceptable — this must be resolved only with 100% of the concessions being made by Democrats — which means any compromise Dems put forth is by definition a nonstarter at the outset.
Analysts reluctant to embrace this conclusion — an affliction I’ve called the “centrist dodge” — have adopted several techniques.
- Claim the Dems have offered no plan out of this, when clearly they have
- Acknowledge the Dems have offered a plan but it doesn’t go far enough toward the Republicans’ view (which, Sargent points out, is that only if they get 100% of what they want will they cooperate), or
- Admit the Republicans aren’t willing to compromise but it’s on Obama to get them to do so somehow
Sargent then asks:
What if there is nothing whatsoever that can be done by the president or anyone else to break the GOP out of its no-compromising stance? This isn’t an unreasonable reading of the situation; it’s what Republicans themselves have confirmed, publicly and on the record — they will not concede a penny in new revenues, no matter what.
Sargent then suggests to the pundits (David Brooks last week, the WaPo editorial board today) “isn’t it incumbent on commentators to explain this clearly and forthrightly to their readers?”
Truly a good question, and one which I suspect will go unanswered. The pundits are too in love with their idea of themselves as men of the center, whose edicts should be admired and followed unreservedly. Indeed, as Paul Krugman says today, “. . . this refusal to hold the worse parties accountable is in itself an important source of our political dysfunction.”