From the N.Y. Times This Morning:
With both parties increasingly playing to their base constituencies and their sometimes absolutist positions, many lawmakers are apt to oppose legislation that does not meet their all-or-nothing demands, making bipartisan measures like the $1.1 trillion spending bill extraordinarily difficult to achieve.
“You have a real breakdown in the institution, and this is the result of that breakdown,” said Representative Doc Hastings, the retiring Washington State Republican who presided over much of the House session as the funding measure came under attack from two directions before it narrowly passed just hours before the government was to run out of money. It is expected to clear the Senate, but again not without objections from the right and left.
It’s bull shit. It is the argument that both sides have a fringe section, equally fringy, and they are gumming up the works. Again it is bull shit. The argument over the removing of banking regulations was a clear substantive issue. But maybe I should ask you this: Who are moderate Republicans in the middle? There aren’t any or not enough to define a middle.
Think of it this way: Think of a football field. You have two goal posts representing the ideal position of each player and 100 yards between them. The ideal compromise position is on the 50 yard line. You are sitting in the stands and the guys on the right moves their goal posts 20 yards back (to the right). Now the compromise position is on the old 40 yard line of the guys who move their goal line further away (to the right). Do that a few times and the compromise position gets closer and closer to the original goal line of the guys who keep moving their goal line to the right. That is where we are today.
So should there be a line in the sand? Well, if the guys on the left do not want to start playing from the other guys original goal line there should be. Said another way, if they want to stand for anything there should be. In real politics the Right has figure out that you just make more and more outrageous demands and the compromise position continues to move in their direction until we have a country with only one position. That is what the stand on the Cromnibus was about, not the loss of compromise, but the loss of standing for anything.
It turned out that in the backroom negotiations, the Republicans piled on a whole bunch of onerous banking give aways and the Democrats thought they had come to a reasonable compromise when they were only left with the FDIC covering their risky bets thing. In actuality the compromise position moved to the goal line of the other guy. Compromise in this environment is losing who you are and becoming them. There should have been no bill passed by the Democrats. A line in the sand is all we have left till we become them, if we haven’t already.
Oh, and I almost forgot to draw the obvious conclusion. The Beltway conventional wisdom implicit in the NYT article above is that the compromise position is the best outcome. But in today’s political climate, the compromise position was a total disaster rolling back one of the most important protections we enacted to protect our economy. It shows we are owned by the banks and the rich. Gee, maybe the both sides do it and some compromise position is best for the country is total bull shit. You think?