08/07/2011 07:58 pm ET Updated Oct 07, 2011

Why Dems Should Go Left On Debt Committee

There was an old Saturday Night Live sketch, where in the middle of an interview with Golda Meir, they plunk Yasser Arafat in the room with her and say the two of them will be locked in a room until they come to an agreement. The point being that these two polar opposites would be forced to overcome their differences to reach a peace agreement or be stuck with each other until they do.

This is similar to what we could see in the debt congressional super committee. There are two sides seemingly intractably opposed on how we should reduce our national debt. Most hard-line are the Republicans who seem wed to the Tea Party hard line of not raising any taxes on the rich or anybody else. It seems this will be a litmus test on who they will appoint to the committee. The Democrats, on the other hand, seem ready to appoint centrists and pragmatists like Max Baucus. In such a way they are already signaling their intent to compromise and want to seem like the reasonable adults in the room. This is the approach that President Obama tried to take that has resulted in him being completely rebuffed at every turn. So what should the Democrats do?

Weill if you are being faced with hardline opposition, bring in your own hardliners. The Democrats should have people who voted against the budget agreement because it was too right wing and cut spending too much. Put on left wing hardliners to battle the Tea Party right. Put the two sides in a room and let them fight it out. Knowing that not getting a result will end up in cuts to programs both sides want (yes, even Tea Partiers want defense spending). Fight fire with fire, Democrats. The right is not likely to compromise with you; they are not rational. Bring a good offense in and force them to meet you halfway. This could be the only way to get just agreement.