Oh, to live in Washington, where the annoyances of external reality are so conveniently ignored and The Conversation can be changed like an un-liked song on the national iPod.
Was it not just a couple of weeks ago that The Conversation was all about the supposed five-alarm emergency of the federal budget deficit and the hellish consequences that surely awaited the continuation of profligate spending? Never mind. The political establishment decided to tack another $900 billion on the federal tab to stave off an apparently more dire crisis: the prospect that tax cuts lavished on people wealthy enough to worry about mooring charges might soon expire.
Now, the only talk that seems capable of sustaining the Conversation is whether tax cuts for the richest will be extended again two years forward, and how this will play for those determined to become President.
How can we generate quality jobs by the million and prevent more homeowners from sliding into foreclosure? How can we arrest the long-running breakdown in American middle class life? These are fragments of a narrative long since discarded as politically infertile. They no longer fit into the format of the Sunday talk shows, where the only real question is who won the week, because no one is even trying to win on these points. Not this week. Not any week. The unemployment rate remains snagged at nearly 10 percent and 6.3 million people have been officially out of work for six months and longer, but the Conversation has moved on.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
The Washington Conversation
Peter Goodman, writing on the Huffington Post, answers Michael Gerson's arguments quite well: