Over the weekend — before the wretched, useless “supercommittee” had failed completely to do its job — Jim Clyburn had a piece in The Washington Post setting out his views as a member of that panel. This bit jumped out at me:
I understand signing pledges and suspect that all of us have agreed to them at one time or another. But it is beyond me how one defines eliminating a preference or closing a tax-code loophole as a tax increase. Loopholes that allow extremely wealthy and sophisticated Americans to avoid paying any, or an appropriate amount of, taxes while the middle class gets squeezed and working people struggle to pay their bills are fundamentally unfair. That is the big issue and the main obstacles to accomplishing something of which we can be proud and by which our nation will be strengthened.
What Clyburn seems to be saying there is, I understand the games we all play as partisans, the ways we trade away our freedom to be intellectually honest, good-faith participants in the deliberative process, but I think I see the way around it for y’all…
Well, Clyburn might understand it, and even excuse it, but I don’t. Signing pledges preventing yourself from being open-minded and able to make decisions as an elected representatives in the future is completely inexcusable.
And so is this committee’s failure.
On the one hand, I feel a tad guilty getting on Clyburn for trying to see the other fella’s point of view, instead of just bashing Republicans as usual. But he’s seeing their point of view on partisanship itself. And for me, THAT is the “other side,” the enemy, the force to be opposed.
It’s touching that Clyburn also says in the piece, “My reply remains the motto of the great state of South Carolina: ‘Dum Spiro Spero.’ ‘While I breathe, I hope.’” I love my state’s motto. But I have practically no hope in that crowd up there.
America is disgusted, and right to be. And in next year’s election, you’ll see candidates of both parties try to run as outsiders, as a solution to the problem. But if electing them means sending more Democrats and more Republicans, how can that be a solution?
There has never been a better moment for the UnParty. Who wants to run?