By John Aloysius Farrell, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
Human beings like narratives, and analogies. They make things easier to understand. It is not surprising, then, that Americans have often been described as a big, fractious family. And, in recent years, the family analogy has been stretched to include the Daddy Party and the Mommy Party. The daddy was supposedly the GOP, all stern and disciplined. And the mommy was the Democrats, all caring and understanding.
I have always preferred a different family-based metaphor, however, which more accurately divides Washington between the Grown Ups and the Babies.
It is a matter of fact in the nation's capital that at any given moment there is a small group of Grown Ups that actually get things done. And then there are the Babies, crying and whining and messing. You don't have to be a Democrat to be a Grown Up, and you don't have to be a Republican to be a Baby. Or vice versa.
When I look at the current economic crisis, and what is being done to address it, I must sadly conclude that we are suffering from an overabundance of Babies, especially in the Republican Party, the Senate, and the media, who are all taking turns crying, "Too hard! Too complicated! Nooooo!"
Take the Obama administration's current proposals to expand post-secondary education; reform the health care system, and take an initial market-based step to cut emissions of greenhouse gasses. These are Grown Up ideas that deserve to be studied seriously. If they are flawed, then other Grown Ups should offer serious alternatives. But if they have no serious alternatives, the Babies should not be stunned to learn that the Grown Ups are going ahead with their plans.
It's called "reconciliation," children. An arcane budgetary tool. It's not nice. But it gets things done.
And that is what the Grown Ups do.
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