preliminary reflections on the tax deal…

Leave it to Sen DeMint to bring everything into relief.

From today’s Huffington Post —

“Most of us who ran this election said we were not going to vote for anything that increased the deficit,” he said. “This does. It raises taxes, it raises the death tax. I don’t think we needed to negotiate that aspect of this thing away. I don’t think we need to extend unemployment any further without paying for it, and without making some modifications such as turning it into a loan at some point. It then encourages people to go back to work. So there’s a lot of problems with it.”

My initial reaction to this is simply to look at those insisting the Republicans didn’t give up enough in the negotiations, point to this quotation, and ask “What if DeMint had been at that table?”

The fact is — and the President made this point in his press conference yesterday — Republicans will have a greater presence in the Congress next session, and many of them are Republicans in the mold of Sen DeMint.  The president, and his party, if they are going to get anything accomplished, simply will not be able to govern based on the dictates of the party’s most liberal wing (even if, as predicted, the Republican party continues to grovel at the bidding of its most conservative wing).  They will have to get used to working with the increasingly few Republicans who are not — to be quite frank — bat-shit crazy, and that will mean putting up with deals that totally and utterly stink.  It’s called governing, and it’s not for the faint of heart, or stomach.

One last thought, for now — what amazes me is that after two years of being called out for not achieving “bipartisanship” legislation, the president finally has and the criticism is even worse.  The reason for that, I’m guessing, is because the proposed legislation is some disgustingly constructed sausage.  The outpouring of negative reaction suggests to me that, in using the term bipartisanship, there was an implicit expectation the outcome of said bipartisanship would be one immaculate, perfectly-balanced piece of legislation after another.  But that expectation was — to say the very least — unrealistic, and those of us that held it should be honest with ourselves on that point.

I’m aware, of course, that plenty of liberals believe the pursuit of bipartisanship is a waste of time no matter what — that giving anything up to Republicans is just too odious an ordeal to be tolerated.  Thus, every elected Democrat, including the president, should simply stick to their liberal guns.  But as we’ve seen the last two years, all this strategy yields is absolutely nothing getting through the Senate.  And the country can’t survive much longer with that being the case.

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