I’m going to begin a series that I’ll try to post every day. It will be called Quotes of the Day. It will take quotations from both sides of the aisle, and link to some of the better commentary on the day. The viewpoints represented below are not necessarily (and in some cases obviously not) my own. Enjoy:
Senator Tom Coburn: “For decades, political careerism has trumped statesmanship in Washington,” Coburn said in a statement yesterday. “Both parties have done what is safe, not what is right. The dysfunction in Washington is the belief that we can live beyond our means forever. We can’t.” Link.
Former Senator Alan Simpson, on the S&P downgrade: “It ought to push [Congress] more toward reality and the reality is if you spend a buck and borrow 41 cents, you have to be very stupid.” Link.
Robert Samuelson: “Although Obama said he was willing to trim ‘entitlements’ — presumably, Social Security and Medicare — he never laid out specific proposals or sought public support for them…Even if Obama had been more aggressive, he probably wouldn’t have carried most liberals, who adamantly oppose cuts. They regard Social Security and Medicare as sacrosanct. Not a penny is to be trimmed from benefits. This is an extreme, even fanatical stance. Social Security and Medicare do create a safety net for many millions of poor and near-poor retirees. But for millions of wealthier retirees, they are handouts. Liberals’ unwillingness to admit and act on this distinction has long stifled meaningful budget debate. This would have doomed a bigger agreement.” Link.
Paul Krugman: “Before downgrading U.S. debt, S.& P. sent a preliminary draft of its press release to the U.S. Treasury. Officials there quickly spotted a $2 trillion error in S.& P.’s calculations. And the error was the kind of thing any budget expert should have gotten right. After discussion, S.& P. conceded that it was wrong — and downgraded America anyway, after removing some of the economic analysis from its report.” Link.
Walter Russell Mead, commenting on the New York Times’ apparent astonishment that Rick Perry and others at ‘The Response’ prayed to Jesus Christ: “Shocking. And in Texas. What next? High school football players praying before a big game? Coaches praying with them, even though their salaries are paid by taxpayers? Clearly, we are just one short step from witch burnings and a worse-than-Iranian theocracy.” Link.
John P. Judis, demonstrating he’s never actually read Kierkegaard’s The Sickness Unto Death: “Some economists and conservative politicians have swallowed the laissez-faire Kool-Aid, and simply don’t get it. In some quarters, rampant confusion prevails. But with a liberal like Klein, I suspect that despair—what Kierkegaard called ‘the sickness unto death’—over getting Congress to agree to a dramatic boost in government spending is really behind his thinking there is no economic solution.” Link.
Leonard J. Pitts: “It is time Obama quit being surprised by the predictable, time he understood this is not politics as usual, not Ronald Reagan and Tip O’Neill snarling at one another by day and having drinks by night, like that old cartoon where the sheepdog and the coyote punch a time clock to signal the beginning and end of their hostilities. It is not Bill Clinton living in a state of permanent investigation, nor even George W. Bush being called incompetent all day every day. No, this is a new thing, repulsion at a visceral, indeed, mitochondrial, level. Obama’s denigrators are appalled by the newness of him, the liberality of him, the exoticness of him and, yes, and the blackness of him. Link.