Before I could get the bad taste out of my mouth over seeing John Boehner and the TeaBirchers playing chicken with women's health, this segment came up with David Gergen, who has the ability to say the most odious things at the worst possible time.
The panel on AC360 was predictably hard-core Villager. Earlier, Gergen had worried over the fact that Harry Reid didn't thank the President on the Senate floor, but remembered to thank Boehner's staff. Um, really, I think it's just fine not to thank the President or give him a helluva lot of credit for this round, to be honest. He came in at the 11th hour, and worked behind the scenes, but ultimately it came to what Boehner and Reid could put together and keep their respective caucuses happy. Oh, and the US Chamber of Commerce, who Reid was quick to thank at the top of his speech with a special hat tip to Tom Donohue. No, really. He did.
Then we get to the segment at the top, where Anderson Cooper asks David Gergen about Paul Ryan's not-so-serious budget proposal for 2012. This is where I started shouting something like "Jeebus, are you really defending that Paul Ryan thing? REALLY?"
This is why we can't have nice things. When the opinionators -- not reporters, but opinionators -- go on cable TV on a night where people who don't usually watch cable TV probably will be watching (especially if their job hinges on the budget deal), and extol an insane proposal like Ryan's, they legitimize it. And Gergen goes beyond even legitimizing it. He extols it. Not only does he extol the 'seriousness', he scolds Ryan for not "addressing other entitlements" like Social Security.
He actually says it's a "serious proposal" and is more than the Democrats have offered to deal with the very serious crisis that will befall our very serious country. Says that Ryan has "showed their hand" and now it's the President's turn. Oh, really? Ok, let's have some fun with that, David.
Let's start by taking back our tax cuts early. For entitlement reform, we'll end the payroll tax holiday six months early and get that money back into the Social Security trust fund. And just for more fun, let's put a proposal on the table to allow every person in the country to be covered by Medicare. Also, we're going to demand an end to the wars. Bring the troops home or else we'll make Republican Rabbit scream. What else can we do? Oh yes. Oil and farm subsidies, bye-bye. Betcha our budget can cut SIX trillion off the deficit to Paul Ryan's puny four trillion or whatever it is.
Now what, Republican Rabbit Ryan? When Republicans start squealing like piggy boys and crying that Democrats are being unserious, we'll just remind them that we have a damned budget crisis to deal with. A really. big. serious. Crisis. With a capital C, even.
I think that would be a good starting point. Extreme? Radical? How is it any more extreme or radical than saying Medicare should be abolished in favor of vouchers?
We're not going to get any attention by the Villagers for maintaining the status quo. Ryan understands that, and don't forget, he's got the force of his money guys behind him. Will it work? Of course it won't work. But it's time for some of OUR proposals to be treated as very-serious-everyone-must-pay-attention proposals.
My only comfort in the whole hour was Paul Begala's smackdown of Gergen. Here it is, for your viewing pleasure. Try not to inhale the silly smoke during Gergen's first segment.