From the fool me once files
“As a Clinton administration staffer, a question for Ezra. Suppose we do a bipartisan deficit-reduction deal over the next two years. Why don’t you think that the next time the Republican Party gets back into power afterwards they won’t do what they did the last time they had working majorities everywhere in 2001-3, and indeed the time before that they had working majorities in 1981-2: large tax cuts for the rich that destabilize America’s public finances.
It’s hard for any veteran of the Clinton Administration to reach any conclusion other than that fixing America’s long-run fiscal dilemmas requires first the complete destruction of today’s Republican Party, and those of us who care about America’s fiscal future need to turn all of our energies to that end. Can you give me reasons not to believe that?” — Brad Delong
This is a really good question. It’s not as if the Democrats haven’t done a ton of Grand Bargaining over the past couple of decades —- and the result is always that the Republicans demand more. I recall having an argument back in 2000 with a long time Democratic operative who insisted that the Republicans could never demagogue them again because Clinton balanced the budget and left a surplus. Surely the people now understood that the Democrats were fiscally responsible. How’d that work out for us?
Or, for that matter, how did it work out for us on foreign policy and national security and women’s rights and affirmative action or anything else? At every turn the GOP has moved further right and the Democrats have felt compelled to scurry after them, all the while insisting that the country would see them as the more “reasonable” and “responsible” for having done so.