Washington Post editorial page offers up an excellent example of the highly ideological nature of Beltway pragmatism and centrism:
The gang of 20 or so moderate Democrats and Republicans, led by Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), heeded the president’s call for bipartisanship and hunkered down to produce the bill announced Friday night. Though the details of the package still need to be examined, the senators’ effort was an admirable one — one that aimed at providing the quick and large injection of funds into the economy experts say is necessary, while modifying or removing parts of the bill that were too long-range or complex for an emergency bill, or which blatantly served special interests.
As we see here, the cart of bipartisanship is straightforwardly put ahead of the horse of policy merits. They say the details of the package need to be examined, but don’t actually examine them before deciding that the effort deserves praise. But there’s no indication that the Collins-Nelson modifications actually do these things. Elements of the package such as special tax breaks for homebuyers or new car purchases that are ineffective stimulus but likely to benefit the prosperous and special interests were left in, while highly effective stimulative measures like fiscal aid to state governments and an expanded child tax credit were taken out.
When it comes to Nate Silver's analysis of the numbers of politics, if the gods ever made a more astute human they must have done it in an age when that person had far less data available at his fingertips. I'm usually reduced to saying "me too" when Silver speaks, but today I think he's offered a counsel that is more human than it is divinely providenced.And if anybody thinks that the timing of this was not plotted weeks ago, they haven't learned much from the experience of 2008. I'm looking forward to looking at, learning and studying how it is done all over again, this time in the context of how grassroots organizing can be applied in an epoch of governance.