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Old, Tired, and Uninspired

8:05 AM, Nov 15, 2012 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
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“She will continue to lead a united Democratic Caucus that will play a crucial role in developing a responsible deficit reduction package — working with President Obama and our colleagues in the Senate — that protects Social Security and Medicare, the middle class and children, while asking the wealthiest Americans to pay their fair share,” a source close to Pelosi said.

You have to wonder why Roll Call couldn't reveal the name of his "source." Would he or she have been fired by Pelosi for divulging such secret, sensitive information? And then, more to the point, why is this kind of tired, old boilerplate stuff considered news? Anyone dimly aware of what goes on in Washington and what passes for thought and language there could have phoned it in.

But there is something to be learned – or confirmed, anyway – by this item. Namely that Washington is tired and the leadership of the political class is getting as old and intellectually sclerotic as the Soviet Politburo in the days after Brezhnev when, as the enterprise declined, the leadership increased its desperate grip on power with progressively arthritic fingers. It is less than a month since the triumph of the Democratic party and its leadership consists of Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate. No new blood; no new ideas. There is even talk of making John Kerry the new secretary of state.

President Obama gave his first press conference in many weeks. He fielded a few softballs and made it clear that his primary objective is to increase Washington's share of the national pie. This will require raising taxes on the rich, which makes sense since that's where the money is. The town is full to the brim with ambitious, aggressive policy wonks with all sorts of ideas for how to reform and rethink government and all we can look forward to is an argument about raising taxes.  This is the policy equivalent of watching grass grow.  The government raises taxes when it lacks the will and the wit to do anything else.  

The language is dead and dishonest. "Ask" people to pay more taxes? Government doesn't "ask" anyone to do anything. "Protect Social Security and Medicare?" From what?  Fatal design flaws that were built in by the political class that created the programs and that it lacks the will to correct or, even, admit exist?  The "children?"  That one, right there, gives the game away.

No wonder the "source" didn't want to be named.  

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