I am a great admirer of Beltway columnists like Ruth Marcus, Chris Cillizza and Dana Milbank, people who get that Both Sides Do It. This space will be used to try and write the smelliest piece of centrist trash possible.
The great philosopher Forrest Gump once remarked that "life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you're [going to] get."
"Forrest Gump" is one of my all-time favorite movies, and any chance I get to work in a reference, I have to take it. Nineteen years after its release, that famous quote might seem a little cliche, but it can best be used to describe our current political climate, which is as unpredictable as the weather in New York.
The best part of any chocolate is what you get in the center. Me? I'm a creamy center kind of guy. Sure I like a few nuts (Ted Cruz, Dennis Kucinich), but the best chocolate is the one that hits all the right notes.
I've made no secret of my admiration for John McCain, who in my opinion demonstrates the type of leadership this country is desperately seeking right now. McCain is the chocolate in the box you can't get enough of. You want every chocolate to be that one. In my last column, I pondered if McCain could bring together a group of mavericks that would finally put Washington on notice that we're going to get serious about entitlements, spending and tax reform.
The sweet spot, if you will.
My good friend Ron Fournier has been asking the question "Can Obama Lead?" for several weeks now. A colleague I greatly admire, Kate Nocera at BuzzFeed, wrote a wonderful story asking if a group of moderate Republicans could splinter off from the extremist ranks of Cruz and Michelle Bachmann and bring some common sense back to the party and D.C. This would put a scare into Democrats, who would finally have to face up to the fact that our sprawling entitlement state either gets tamed or they face the same long-term problems that the Tea Party does.
Of course, this is just wishful thinking. We know that leadership in D.C. is as unpredictable as that box of chocolates. Too often it seems like we get a coconut, a walnut or the stuff that sticks to your teeth in our box known as Washington. Too many members of Congress are still answering to the fringes of their supporters when most Americans support entitlement reform and a balanced budget.
When will they listen to the people at-large?
The worst thing about the deal struck last week to raise the debt ceiling and end the shutdown was that it kicked the can down the road one more time. We'll be right back in this situation in January. Leadership on both sides will be thinking more about reelection and 2016 instead of doing what's best for the country. But maybe, just maybe, next time will be different. Maybe that group of mavericks will finally emerge, take control and force President Barack Obama and Senate Democrats to confront our biggest issues.
Unpredictability can be a good thing, especially in a box of chocolates. Unpredictability among our leaders is not.
When it comes to Washington, I don't want a box of nuts; I just want that creamy center.