Some time back, Sarah Palin accused President Obama of trying to wreck the economy. Liberals were enraged, and I agreed that assuming the other side was out to destroy the country was not a position responsible politicians should take.
But now such slurs are all the rage. My colleague Eugene Robinson perfectly channels the assumption of many liberals that Republicans are acting in bad faith -- or are insane. He writes:
Obama’s frustration came as House Republicans refused to make a simple choice: Either they could give up their patently unfair and unreasonable demand that a deficit-reduction deal include absolutely no new revenue; or they could give up their equally absurd demand that any increase in the debt ceiling be accompanied, dollar for dollar, by budget cuts. That second option would necessarily mean only a modest hike in the debt ceiling.
Well, of course, Republicans with, in their view, patently fair and reasonable grounds, contend that raising taxes when we have 9.2 percent unemployment would be disastrous for the economy. They likewise believe that continuing to raise the debt ceiling without corresponding cuts in spending would send the wrong signal to the markets and further weigh down the economy. On the latter point, the American people largely agree.
I don’t mean to single out Robinson. The White House has reacted with the same incredulous contempt, and the president and his minions made House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) the villain. (Cantor, while more strident in tone, holds the same position as the speaker of the House, who has now morphed into a hero of the left. Well, the latter is long overdue, I guess.)
You can expect proposals to float out from the McConnell-Reid negotiations and from the House Republicans. The fact that nothing productive is going on in the White House talks, which still transfix the White House-centric media, should suggest that the president and his advisers are less effective than Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid in making progress. If that’s not a sign of this president’s shortcomings, I don’t know what is.