The fiscal-cliff deal was far from perfect -- but don't sniff at a serious surrender from the GOP. ...
While Newt Gingrich represents much that has been wrong with the Republican party for the last 20 years -- and is as responsible as anyone for the extreme partisanship in Washington today -- he has clearly learned some lessons from the past.
With many cliffs looming in the future, it will take a crisis every time to provoke both sides to reach a deal, and the deals are likely to be incremental. But that's okay, because the national will needs time to shift.
We are going to use our Friday Talking Points this week to point out why this deal is not just a pretty darn good one, but actually downright historic.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to risk a default on the national debt unless President Obama agrees to large spending cuts. But playing politics with the debt ceiling is a dangerous and inappropriate game.
Obama wanted to be the president who would change the tone in Washington, meaning a more collaborative relationship with the Republicans. That was not to be. The Republicans would not allow it.
If Senators McConnell and Reid hammer out a budget deal that can pass their caucuses, Rep. Boehner is likely to take it up in the House. If it passes there, the president will presumably sign it before the ball drops in Times Square. We will have avoided going over the fiscal cliff, but at what cost?
There is a chance to reform the filibuster in January, with a proposal to "make them talk." Will the Charlie Browns in the Senate let Lucy pull away the football yet again? As George W. Bush said, "Fool me once, shame on -- shame on you. Fool me -- you can't get fooled again."
I can see a weedy, pot-hole-filled path to a deal before New Year's. Based on sketchy details I'm picking up in the air, McConnell and Reid are apparently huddling over a deal. If they come up with something acceptable to both of them, McConnell will allow it to come to an up-or-down vote.
Filibustering has been a major problem in the US Senate for several years. The tactic is causing obstruction in Congress, and the problem will continue to exist if the United States remains as partisan as it is now.
The combination of a weakened national party and more intense competition in primaries is making the Republican Party relatively impervious to national opinion. This poses a large strategic problem for the Democrats. It could be an even bigger problem for the nation.
Faced with a choice between the path of reason and the road to ruin, Republicans cling to ruin rather than adapt. That is the difference between ideas and talking points. Ideas evolve with new information, while talking points are static.
Currently, many filibusters happen on motions to bring legislation up for debate -- not in the context of actual deliberation on bills. The U.S. Senate is often described as "the world's greatest deliberative body" -- so let's give the senators a chance to deliberate.
Unless the Senate fixes the filibuster at the start of the next Congress, the growing list of crucial national issues to resolve will continue to languish in a Senate where nothing gets done.
Right to the brink! Or maybe not. ...