08/09/2013 06:34 pm ET

There's Good News And Bad News About Recent Capitol Hill Departures


Over at The Washington Post, Lori Montgomery gives us the good news and the bad news about some key Capitol Hill departures:

With another showdown looming over the national debt, Washington insiders last month received some unsettling news: Rohit Kumar, a Republican aide who has played a key role in warding off disaster, is leaving Capitol Hill.

Kumar is the guy who came up with a way to sell a $700 billion bank bailout to anxious lawmakers in 2008 when the financial system was collapsing. And he's the guy who figured out how to let conservatives raise the debt limit while voting against it in 2011 when the nation was days away from default.

... And House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has lost his chief negotiator, Brett Loper, a policy expert who came close to hammering out a grand bargain with the White House in 2011. Loper left in June to become a lobbyist for American Express.

To my mind, the bad news here is Kumar's departure, because he was the guy who "figured out how to let conservatives raise the debt limit while voting against it in 2011 when the nation was days away from default."

Read those words ("let!") and just try to not LOL yourself to death. This guy was apparently the linchpin in "The Plan To Stop The GOP From Destroying The Economy." Previously, that plan didn't need a linchpin. Previously, we didn't even need a plan! In the Olden Tymes that were every year until 2011, anyone who suggested that taking the nation's credit hostage and precipitating a default crisis was a rational way of debating the budget process would have simply been told that he was being destructive and ridiculous. But since we've largely lapsed into out-and-out lycanthropy on Capitol Hill, it's nice that this Kumar fellow was the keeper of the Silver Bullet.

Now, Brett Loper? Him we can do without. At this point, the notion of a Grand Bargain -- in which we trade steep cuts in domestic spending and steep cuts in Social Security and Medicare for a fantastic opportunity for the middle class to suck it up and be poorer -- is the exclusive religious fetish of "centrist sociopaths" and head-in-the-sand Beltway editorial writers. A day without that sort of Grand Bargain is a great day for America. In even better news, President Obama has recently taken the one really good thing about the Grand Bargain -- the words "grand" and "bargain" -- and is now using them to describe a set of proposals that will actually help people. Messrs. Simpson and Bowles will have to find something else to do with their lives, and that is a good thing.

If there is a Kickstarter somewhere that has been set up to allow Loper to leave faster, let me know and I will kick in.

I am, nevertheless, going to miss American Hero Rohit Kumar, the one guy who apparently found a way to keep a bunch of slavering lunatics from destroying the global economy.

(h/t Kevin Drum)

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