Paul Greenberg

The GOP is faced by a quandary as old as Cassandra's. It's aware of the approaching disaster as the national debt grows still more ominous, but just as aware that all its warnings will be ignored. For the Republicans seem unable to translate the essence of all their facts and figures and graphs and fiscal projections into the kind of plain English that would sway the great beast known to Alexander Hamilton as The People. ("Your people, sir, your people is a great beast.")

But what th' heck, Colonel Hamilton is no longer secretary of the Treasury, which is clear enough, and the band plays on.

There's a name for the modern-day Republican Party's big problem. The scientific term for it, to borrow a line from that noted political scientist Cool Hand Luke, is a failure to communicate. And it is proving a costly failure.

And so we all go on, oars beating against the current that carries us back to just where we were before. To quote an old federalist editor and backyard inventor named Ben Franklin, experience keeps a dear school but fools will learn in no other.

In the meantime, pay no mind to that faint roar you hear in the background. It's only the distant sound of the great cataract awaiting at the end of a long and lazy river.

Paul Greenberg

Pulitzer Prize-winning Paul Greenberg, one of the most respected and honored commentators in America, is the editorial page editor of the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.