Much has appeared in this space about conservative reaction to U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss’ participation in the Gang of Six effort to reach a bipartisan deal on the federal deficit.
Certain parties in Georgia have accused him of going “wobbly.”
But it’s worth noting that Chambliss’ counterpart has received similar criticism from his end of the political spectrum. ABC News today posted the interview below with U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the majority whip and lead Democratic negotiator.
(ABC says the rather distracting clip is part of its “subway” series of interviews conducted on the underground trams that go back and forth between the U.S. Capitol and Senate office buildings. The technique is perhaps intended to mimic real-life Washington – constant back-and-forth, but no actual progress.)
For one thing, Durbin warns his fellow Democrats away from a resolution backed by Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., which vows opposition to any cuts to Social Security.
“I think Bernie’s gone too far with his language,” Durbin said.
And on the topic of reduced federal spending, the Illinois senator says the American left — like the American right, maybe? — is coming to grips with the situation:
“Many of my friends are…going through the stages of grief. Denial, anger, frustration, sadness, resignation. They’re going through those stages because they understand that borrowing 40 cents for every dollar you spend, whether it’s on a missile or food stamps, is just unsustainable.”
On somewhat the same topic, Ezra Klein at the Washington Post has a frightening take on the S&P downgrading that includes this:
[T]his is where things get dangerous. Republicans and Democrats both bear substantial blame for the country’s rising deficits. The Bush tax cuts and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit and our various wars — none of which have been paid for, and all of which are ongoing — are major contributors to our mounting debt, and all were passed by Republican majorities.
The debt ceiling had to be raised seven times during the Bush years, and the policies that helped drive those increases — not to mention the financial crisis that followed them — have not been undone under Obama.
But the GOP wants to pin the debt on the Democrats, and it wants major concessions in return for its vote. Democrats, however, aren’t going to agree to the GOP’s plan to deny partial responsibility for the country’s debt and hold the country’s credit rating hostage in order to reshape the government along more conservative lines. Fear over exactly this sort of political gridlock is what led Standard Poor’s to downgrade the nation’s credit outlook to “negative” Monday.
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider