By any rational measure, House Republicans were on the verge of a major accomplishment a couple of weeks ago.
Even though they held control of only one legislative chamber, they had backed President Obama into proposing a $4 trillion deficit-reduction package, including more than $3 trillion in spending reductions over the next decade. Enacted into law, it would have easily been the largest budget-cutting package in U.S. history. All they had to do was say yes.
But they could not bring themselves to utter that word.
Their victory, you see, must be absolute and total or it is not victory at all. A “win-win” outcome — fine for liberals and RINO pansies — is insufficiently decisive to those who feel morally obligated to turn politics into scorched-earth warfare. They are Harry Truman demanding unconditional surrender from Imperial Japan.
And they have the Bomb.
As a result, a historically significant reduction in the federal deficit and in once-untouchable entitlement programs had to be rejected, because in their minds its purity was tainted by an increase in taxes on the wealthiest of Americans.
In his latest column, David Brooks assesses the messianic radicals of the GOP with brutal clarity:
“They do not see politics as the art of the possible. They do not believe in seizing opportunities to make steady, messy progress toward conservative goals. They believe that politics is a cataclysmic struggle. They believe that if they can remain pure in their faith then someday their party will win a total and permanent victory over its foes. They believe they are Gods of the New Dawn.”
Well, they’re not.
– Jay Bookman