Wednesday, July 06, 2011

Hostage To “A Faction With No Sense of Moral Decency”

I learn or unlearn and relearn best by looking at an issue through the lens of someone opposed to that issue.  I’m sure my co-workers and friends always found it annoying.

I picked up the habit around the dinner table growing up.  Usually we were asked not only about our day but about something new we learned.  If we sounded too convinced, we were usually tested to see if there were any alternative viewpoints.

That may be the reason I always had research ready to justify decisions when I was first given executive responsibility in my early 20s.  I already understood that my opinions alone were not sufficient to steward the resources of others.Capture

Playing a game of partisan “chicken” over the national debt limit isn’t new in my lifetime, but in the past when either party opposed it, you always had a sense they knew what was best for the country.

My favorite resource on the consequences of not raising the debt limit comes from an excellent explanation found by clicking on Third Way and illustrated here for non-readers or folks who always use the excuse that they don’t have enough time.

But yesterday conservative columnist David Brooks in a piece entitled The Mother of All No-Brainers put a spotlight on the faction he believes is holding the Republican Party and the nation hostage. He begins by crediting his party for negotiating to erase the debt, most of which was actually accrued on their watch as I’ve seen documented.

Then he zeroes in on the tiny but vocal faction that is placing such a huge “uncertainty tax” on the nation both in the Congress and in state legislatures across the country:

  • “The members of this movement do not accept the logic of compromise, no matter how sweet the terms…


  • The members of this movement do not accept the legitimacy of scholars and intellectual authorities


  • The members of this movement have no sense of moral decency.  A nation makes a sacred pledge to pay the money back when it borrows money.  But the members of this movement talk blandly of default and are willing to stain their nation’s honor.


  • The members of this movement have no economic theory worthy of a name


  • But to members of this movement, tax levels are everything.  Members of this tendency have taken a small piece of economic policy and turned it into a sacred fixation…

He goes on to speak about independent voters such as me, in particular I believe he means post-moderns:

“If the debt ceiling talks fail, independent voters will see that Democrats were willing to compromise but Republicans were not.  If responsible Republicans don’t take control, independents will conclude that Republican fanaticism caused the default.  They will conclude that Republicans are not fit to govern.

And they will be right.”

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