Leave it to the wise former first lady to have coined a perfect judgment of the contemporary group of well-intentioned U.S. senators known as the "Gang of Six."
It's true that the constitutional framers intended the Senate to be "the saucer that cools the tea" of the House of Representatives. But we live in strange times. We've witnessed a president put forth a nearly $1 trillion "stimulus package" that didn't work. We've seen a coalition of Republicans and Democrats make another pass at righting the world's economic ship by passing a TARP plan that ultimately benefited only banks and automakers.
Given those giant missteps, it's sheer lunacy for federal lawmakers -- certainly for Republican ones -- to try again to save the economy by doing anything less than face up to the fact that Congress must spend less money, rather than looking for new sources of revenue.
What planet is the Gang of Six living on? The very next day following their spending and taxing proposal, the House Budget Committee suggested that the Senate proposal would raise as much as $2 trillion more in government revenue.
It's hard to imagine that the Republican members of the Gang are in touch with the sentiments of their own party. Maybe they are just scared, and they're reacting by trying to be the grand strategists who rescue both their own party and the nation by saving them from "ultra right-wingers" who just don't understand the nuances of forcing President Obama to the brink of a budget-ceiling crisis. Maybe they are swallowing the many polls and media commentaries that make it look as though they will not only suffer politically but destroy the economy if they don't meet Obama in the middle.
Buy me a theater ticket next to Barbara Bush. I, too, have seen this before. Beyond that, I've also kept my eye on a more important polling number than those that come from all those cleverly worded surveys -- the ones that suggest the public is panicking over the failure to reach compromise, and that they will blame the Republicans for a failure to do so.
The polling I noticed was that which showed the president's overall approval rating dropping, even as he spent several days complaining about the GOP's unwillingness to compromise, and even as many in media warned of dire political consequences for Republicans if they didn't say "uncle."
How could that be? After all, we're being told the Republicans are committing political suicide with their ideological stubbornness.
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