Steve Benen on the signature moment of last night's Republican debate:
Fox News’ Bret Baier opened the question up to all eight of the candidates on the stage. Take a look at the video: For those who can’t watch clips online, Baier phrased it this way: “I’m going to ask a question to everyone here on the stage. Say you had a deal, a real spending cuts deal, 10-to-1, as Byron said, spending cuts to tax increases…. Who on this stage would walk away from that deal? Can you raise your hand if you feel so strongly about not raising taxes, you’d walk away on the 10-to-1 deal?”
All eight candidates raised their hand. Literally all of them, if offered a debt-reduction deal that’s 10-to-1 in their favor, would simply refuse.
That's fucking insane. A 10-to-1 deal would mean a deal with 91% spending cuts and 9% tax hikes. That's not a compromise, that's a huge victory for supply-side fundamentalism. Only a true right-wing lunatic would reject that kind of a deal.
Part of the story here is that Republicans are so far out of the mainstream that average Americans shouldn't consider voting for them next November, and that's a story that Democrats will be telling from now to election day.
But there's another part of the story that Democrats, including President Obama, need to remember: no matter how hard they try, they'll never be able to compromise with today's Republican Party. It's not that Democrats need to be inflexible; it's that no matter how flexible Democrats are willing to be, Republicans won't accept anything less than total capitulation. And that means Democrats need to choose between capitulating to Republicans and beating them.
And when they do beat them, they can't punt on the opportunity to undo failed Republican policies. We're in the mess we're in now because of what happened last December. Thanks to moments like last night's debate, December's punt might not turn out to be as big a political disaster as a substantive one, but the point of public service shouldn't be to win elections: it should be to get something good done for the country. And as much fun as it can be to watch Republicans make asses of themselves in debates, it would be even more fun to do it without the specter of their disastrous economic policies hanging over our heads.