[New York Times:]
...Even amid the current meltdown in Washington and the consistent Republican opposition to Mr. Obama, Mr. Lieberman insists on blaming both parties equally in a way that some Democrats say works for him but ignores reality.
"The Republicans will say not only in the fiscal negotiations, but in general, they were constantly bending and willing to compromise, and it's the Democrats' fault," he said. "But the truth is, they're both right. It's both their fault."
"I understand the reflexive establishment posture, which suggests partisan observations are necessarily wrong, but consider recent events," says Steve Benen, "the fiscal talks have broken down because Republicans won't compromise and accept meaningful concessions; the farm bill and the Violence Against Women Act are stuck because Republicans won't vote on them; efforts to reduce gun violence face extremely long odds because Republicans are beholden to the NRA; a U.N. treaty on disabilities was killed because Republicans believed extremist conspiracy theories; the process of filling President Obama's second term cabinet is stalled because of Republican smear campaigns; and another debt-ceiling crisis is underway because Republicans are threatening to hurt Americans on purpose unless Democrats pay a steep ransom."
Yes, this is BS of the very highest order, but many in the punditry will probably eat it up. It lets them off the hook. While it's entirely possible to impartially assign blame (after all, juries do it constantly) the media and the Republican Party don't seem to realize it. If you come straight out and say the obvious truth -- i.e., Republicans are about as helpful in getting things moving in Washington as a flat tire -- then that's "bias," somehow. Thank God Joementum threw them a lifesaver, now their opinions don't have to reflect reality. Which is great for the GOP, since reality doesn't make them look very good at all. Especially in the looming fiscal cliff and the upcoming Republican-created debt crisis.
"Back up from the day-to-day and really look at it," comments Jonathan Bernstein, "and what you’ll see is a situation in which Republicans insist on superficially popular deficit reduction without being willing to support any of the means of getting deficit reduction — and having demonstrated repeatedly that if Democrats propose any specific deficit-reduction measures, they’ll be quick to attack."
It's the GOP's stubborn insistence that we can reduce the deficit without them giving up anything that has Washington paralyzed. The wheels of government don't roll that way. They can't. You need people willing to accept reality and Republicans are fresh out of those. We cannot change the nature of math to satisfy their wish to have their cake and eat it too.
Or, as Jonathan Cohn puts it, "Washington doesn't need two parties that can 'come together.' It needs one party to 'get it together.'"
So long, Joe Lieberman. And thank you just so very damned much for giving a lazy and cowardly punditry a way out one last time, while taking a some pressure off the Republicans and undermining efforts at a last minute deal. We won't miss you.
Not in the least.