Former Washington Post Managing Editor Robert Kaiser took to the opinion pages of the Post to lament the disintegration of the good old days in Washington when political life was wonderfully collegial and lawmakers had fun governing.
Oh, the irony of this Beltway liberal's devoting 2,225 words to decrying conservatives for destroying something that liberals have largely been in charge of for years -- government and its growth.
Kaiser sounds a lot like Chris Matthews, who often mourns for the days when politics was fun -- as if the process of governing is the only thing that matters. For Kaiser says he misses those days when liberal GOP lawmakers (though he doesn't identify them as such) "knew and cared a great deal about governing."
What really sticks in his craw is that "162 members of Congress ... voted 'no,' votes meant explicitly to drive their government into bankruptcy, when there was a real chance that their view might prevail. Here was an entirely new style of public service, and it turned" his stomach.
He continues: "Those 162 votes reflected the deep hostility felt by the newest version of Republican lawmakers toward the government of their country. It is a cynical and often uninformed hostility, befitting the age we live in. And it has many adherents in a country with an elaborate regulatory and welfare state that many like to pretend we don't really have, don't really need and don't really like -- three blatant falsehoods."
Do you know what turns my stomach -- and those of countless people I talk to today, from my Midwestern hometown to the coasts of this great country? It's the hostility people like Kaiser have to patriots who are trying to save this nation from the reckless policies and distorted view of government they endorse.
In the first place, these 162 members of Congress who voted "no" intended not to drive the government into bankruptcy but precisely the opposite. Shutting down the government, which Democrats were equally responsible for allowing because it takes two to tango, would not bankrupt the government, because its essential services would still be funded, as Kaiser would know if he were as avid a reader as he implies he is when he arrogantly indicts the present members of Congress for their lack of "intellectual firepower," their not reading books, their lack of concern "about policy issues" and their lack of belief in government.