07/22/2011 04:32 am ET Updated Sep 20, 2011

Careful What You Ask For, GOP

In my 25 years covering Washington I don't recall anything more politically stupid than today's Republicans holding the debt ceiling hostage and passing a bill in the House to privatize Medicare.

In just a few weeks you've managed to antagonize grass-roots seniors and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The GOP would be on common ground with many more, if not most, voters had they stuck to calls for less government that detailed something different. Abolish some Cabinet departments. Cut foreign aid. Whatever. Anything other than targeting retirees or creating default panic would have given them political momentum.

Instead, Republicans risk being seen as simply unbalanced by the weight of their right wing and ceding the reasonable ground to President Obama - who can hug the center (or even the center-right) because no one is challenging him from the left for his nomination.

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