(1) The Democratic Party is a centrist party accommodating a range of views. The GOP is universally extremist.
(2) The media mostly refuses to acknowledge this fact.
the basic contours of Friedman’s dream debt ceiling deal — the one that all of our national leaders are too blinded by ideology and partisanship to see — are identical to the basic contours of the debt ceiling deal that Obama offered congressional Republicans. …
But there’s not a word in Friedman’s column about any of this — no credit to the president for being willing to endure abuse from many liberals in the name of pursuing a “grand bargain” on revenues and entitlements, and no acknowledgment that this is not just another case of “Washington” being broken. Sure, he does mention that Tea Party intransigence has been a problem and urges “sane Republicans” to stand up to their base. But from reading Friedman’s column, you’d think the crisis is equally the making of both parties, and that none of the principals have been willing to bargain in good faith with the other side. This just isn’t the case at all. The reality is that Obama risked alienating a chunk of his own base in order to reach across the aisle and make a deal and Republicans responded by saying no and walking away.
Friedman closes with this:
But if neither Republicans nor Democrats can see that we need a hybrid politics today — one that requires cutting, taxing and investing as part of a single nation-building strategy (phased in over time) — then I’ll hope for a third party that does get it and can take us where we need to go.
Because that’s what would make all the difference right now — a brand-new president to come in and … make pretty much the same offer that Obama has already made (and an offer he was prepared to force a good number of Democrats to accept). We can certainly argue over whether Obama should have put Social Security and Medicare on the table. But you’d think we could all at least agree that he did do it.
EDITED TO ADD: Again, DougJ at BJ is on what I’ve been writing about today:
Pretty soon the far-left position is that we should continue with traditional macroeconomic policy and accept the findings of climate scientists, while the far right position is that we should go on the gold standard and admit that snow in Buffalo proves the earth is not getting warmer. The sensible centrist positions—embraced by Brian Williams, Ruth Marcus, Charlie Rose, and the rest—are to do nothing on global warming, while allowing that it may be happening, and to adopt Hooverist economic policies, while allowing that the gold standard may be going too far.
The MSM is deep in the throes of centrism. You can’t rationally split the difference when one of the parties is insane. But centrists like those folks, Clive Crook, Tom Friedman, and more or less everyone else opinionating on TV and on op-ed pages do it anyway. Hence, centrism is decoupled from reality.