There are a whole lot of things I find troubling about this situation we've got going on right now over raising the debt ceiling -- the fact that the Republicans decided to take the entire United States economy hostage with their initial refusal to just pass a clean bill, or that President Obama has continually ceded to Republicans one talking point after another on everything from tax cuts and the so-called "job creators" to putting Social Security out there as something to negotiate with when it adds nothing to our budget deficit among others.
The one thing that is not a problem with what's been going on in Washington over the last few months, is President Obama being too harsh with Republicans or not talking to them nicely enough if he wants to bring them along. I wish he'd done the George W. Bush routine after they refused to give him a clean vote and gone on television day after day and hammered them for being completely irresponsible by not giving him an "up or down" vote, and explained to Americans that what they were refusing to do is pay for spending that the Congress -- whether these "tea party" a.k.a. extreme right wing Republican freshmen were a part of that or not -- had already consented to when they voted to approve the spending with these illegal invasions of countries that were not a threat to us or their giveaway to the pharmaceutical industries with Medicare Part D, not to mention Bush using the excuse of a surplus to jam through his tax cuts for the rich.
Naturally David Brooks, always eager to make excuses for the extremists in the Republican Party or pretend as though he's surprised that they have finally devoured that party when this faction has always been the one they've catered to in order to win elections, now just thinks even at this late hour that if President Obama just talked to all of them a bit more nicely, they would not act like the extremists they are that are perfectly willing to just burn the whole house down for some so-called political purity on taxes.
Brooks also ignores the fact that these astroturf "tea partiers" might be more than happy to see the United State's economy crash and burn for reasons Karoli laid out in her post here. I doubt that our president just talking a little bit nicer to them would make any difference at all if their agenda is to help anyone profit from crashing our economy, but Brooks sure would like the viewers of PBS to think so.
I'm of the opinion that quite the opposite is true, but that's what I think about most of what David Brooks -- our great American turd polisher for horrible right wing policies we should always push back against -- has to say about anything.
JIM LEHRER: Mark, tell us what's going on.
MARK SHIELDS: Jim, what you have just seen is the rupture of the summit. This had been a summit deal involving the speaker of the House, a Republican, and the Democratic president of the United States.
Nobody else had been really party -- party to it, other than Eric Cantor, the Republican House leader. But the Democratic leadership, the House and the Senate were not party to it, and nor were the Republicans in the Senate.
So, what it came down to, we're now at a he said/he said breakup. And the time is now short. I mean, the grand deal appears to be in shambles. And now the urgency is to raise the debt-ceiling and get it done.
JIM LEHRER: What do you think happened?
DAVID BROOKS: Yes, shambles, a complete meltdown, apparently. I have never seen a presidential press conference with a president so angry in public.
And I -- you know, I sort of think he's maybe mostly right on the substance. He laid out -- apparently in the next few hours, they are going to be laying out the details of what the White House offer was. And there was a lot of revenue cuts. There was some -- or spending cuts -- there was some entitlement cuts. There was some revenue increases.
So if those are real, then I think it was a pretty good deal. But the president's tone of being the only adult in Washington, everyone else is a child, that he's going to summon people to the White House as if they are kindergartners, well, even if you agree with them on the substance, it's kind of hard to go along with someone who is insulting you all the time.
And so I think the president took a big risk. Maybe we will see his tone, as he is giving it to them, he's angry, he's treating them like children, but a lot of people will take a look at it and say, a little -- there's some arrogance and self-superiority there.
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