Over in the op-ed pages of The New York Times, David Brooks continues his reliable Ahab act, yearning to see some sort of "Grand Bargain" harpooned and reeled onto the capacious poop deck of his imagination. As per usual, in Brooks' world, it's the Democrats who somehow remain the impediment to all of these ambitions, and in this missive, it is because they've yet to concede enough to the opposition they've just defeated in an election to make the Bargain truly Grand.
But that's basically the premise of half of Brooks' columns -- pretending that it hasn't actually been the GOP that impeded the legislative process all this while. What especially caught my attention Tuesday is the fact that Brooks -- the reasonable, moderate, No Labels conservative who often expresses his fondness for President Barack Obama -- basically endorses the idea of debt-ceiling hostage-taking as perfectly reasonable:
Republicans should go to the White House and say they are willing to see top tax rates go up to 36 percent or 37 percent and they are willing to forgo a debt-ceiling fight for this year.
In reality, there should never, ever be a "debt ceiling fight" because it is never, ever reasonable for Congress to renege on its promise to fulfill its prior budget commitments, incur a credit default and plunge the global economy into a New Dark Age. But moderate, reasonable David Brooks thinks that if the Republicans would be willing to stop behaving like howling lunatics for one calendar year, that would be fitting proof of their magnanimity.
"Tell, you what, Mr. President: If you make a bunch of painful concessions, we'll throw in a promise to not personally author the complete destruction of this nice global economy you've got here. For one year, anyway," is what Brooks imagines to be "reasonable" negotiating.
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