Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brief supercommittee note

While I've previously pointed out the silliness inherent in hoping that a supercommittee could somehow escape the divisions that frustrated Congress proper this summer, it turns out that the supercommittee also might have been designed for failure from the get-go. On both sides, its members held more extreme views than the average member of their party.

I don't have much to say about this, other than to note that it's hardly some fluke of chance. The supercommittee was envisioned as a means of escaping the partisan pressures that made compromise impossible this summer, but as we see now, escaping those pressure is basically impossible. Instead, the focal point of that pressure just got moved around. A committee structure might have insulated the negotiators themselves from their respective party bases, but it also created additional pressure to appoint negotiators who were ideologically acceptable. If Mary Landrieu and Lindsay Graham had been on the supercommittee instead of Pat Murray and Jon Kyl, maybe there could have been a compromise. But Reid, McConnell, and the rest knew full well that their parties would melt down if they put too many moderates on the committee.

(h/t: Ezra Klein, who linked to the blog post above, but whose post I can't actually link to myself because the Washington Post blog archive is hilariously broken)

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