New York Times columnist David Brooks debated Republican Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) at an American Enterprise Institute forum Thursday and, amid a large degree of back-patting, the writer came to the conclusion that the GOP, in its current legislative form, is exhibiting a sort of obstinate "rigidity" that is damaging to the political process.
Here's what Brooks had to say about the current debate over deficit control by cutting taxes and spending (transcript via ThinkProgress):
BROOKS: And my problem with the Republican Party right now, including Paul, is that if you offered them 80-20, they say no. If you offered them 90-10, they'd say no. If you offered them 99-1 they'd say no. And that's because we've substituted governance for brokerism, for rigidity that Ronald Reagan didn't have.
And to me, this rigidity comes from this polarizing world view that they're a bunch of socialists over there. You know, again, I've spent a lot of time with the president. I've spent a lot of time with the people around him. They're liberals! ... But they're not idiots. And they're not Europeans, and they don't want to be a European welfare state. ... It's American liberalism, and it's not inflexible.
Brooks also explained his vision of the Democrats' ideology. "They have much greater faith in planning than I do, and the health care plan that came out of that, it reflected their faith in planning that bunch of smart guys sitting around in Washington can plan the health care system in this country," Brooks said. "They want to have -- if you read what they've written for the past 20 years -- a more actively planned society which does a little more redistribution."
WATCH (via ThinkProgress)