"Eventually, one side or the other of that divide will get the kind of popular mandate it needs to resolve our long-run budget issues. Until then, attempts to strike a Grand Bargain are fundamentally destructive. If the supercommittee fails, as expected, it will be time to celebrate."
That mandate will come in the form of either a vote to "throw the bums out until we get ones in there who will truly represent the people's interests," or in a vote to for the same ones we have now... those who are not the least bit interested in what the people want... or what is good for the country long term... their only interest is in what benefits those 9 families and the corporations they represent because it will line their own pockets right now. "Legacy, what legacy; we don't need no stinkin' legacy!"
In 2012, we have the opportunity to toss out every one of the members of the House of Representatives and as many as 1/3 of our Senators who do not represent the people they were elected to serve. They have all committed the same crime against the people of the United States; selling out to the corporate interests that have put the American people in the worst economic disaster in 80 years. In 2014, we have the chance to toss out that new batch of representatives if they show themselves to be as recalcitrant as their predecessors, or prove to be minions of that corporate elite. We can boot out the next 1/3 of the Senate if they haven't gotten the message by then. In 2016, if the members of the House still don't get it, we do it again. If Senators also prove to be slow learners, we get rid of that last 1/3. In doing this, we send the following message to our elected officials, "Do not get comfortable there. You are replaceable. We will hold you accountable for any dichotomy between what you say and what you do. We will find out if you are accepting money from any NON-HUMAN entities..... and we will make you pay for that by booting you out of office, even if we have to get a new set of guys in there every time." We have learned now that "the price of freedom is being ever vigilant. We will not let you get away with this stuff again."
The problem with the "supercommittee" isn't so much with its individual members... although it is always possible that those chosen may not "play well with others," and we are just now finding that out. The problem is that there is such an ideological divide between the two parties, and they have been dehumanizing each other for so long; they can no longer engage in productive discourse. Once you have crossed the line from believing that someone really is your colleague to saying it only because it's "politically correct," to do so; once you stop viewing this person with different political views as an equal, you cannot, ever, in good faith, negotiate with them. This explains the current raft of Conservative Republican party members who will go through the process, only to renege on anything they said they were going to do. As long as this batch of Republicans believes that this batch of Democrats really aren't their true peers, there is no negotiating in good faith. You do not negotiate with people you do not feel are worthy of an agreement. You do not negotiate with people you do not feel you'd have to honor an agreement with. This inability to see each other as equal partners in the business of governing is why we must give them all their eviction notices. If our leaders cannot get their "stuff" together enough to show us how to disagree with another's viewpoint without attacking their personhood, who will? Sometimes we learn, not from our leaders, but from those around us:
Even if this wasn't written by a "liberal," it is still well thought out and respectful of the other person's being as well as his right to have a differing opinion. We have changed the discourse over these last few years, changing it into something insidious, vitriolic, and evil. We call people "liberal," now and use it like it's the new "N" word, used to dismiss, disregard, denigrate, and demean in exactly the same way it has been used in the past. There is no acknowledging that Liberal is simply a differing political viewpoint. What's worse, of course, is to be called a socialist, or to believe that anything a socialistic government might do is a good thing, like provide access to health care. That makes you Un-American, as if there aren't good ideas found in unlikely places.
Removing the mandate of the "fairness doctrine," from our media has made it virtually impossible to bring back civility to the discourse. How to handle differences of opinion cannot be taught when differing opinions are squelched by virtue of their absence from the public eye. They certainly cannot be taught when they are physically squelched by police officers use of pepper spray on peaceful protesters. First Amendment rights get trampled on, and no one learns about the humanness of differing opinions.