I hope that the on-line conversation this afternoon, between David Brooks of the NYT and Ezra Klein of the WaPo, is captured and stored in a time-capsule somewhere. People can look at it years from now as an unusually crystalline exposition of different media perspectives on politics and policy during the Obama era.
Brooks: In my ideal world, the Obama administration would do something Clintonesque: They'd govern from the center; they'd have a budget policy that looked a lot more like what Robert Rubin would describe, and if the Republicans rejected that, moderates like me would say that's awful, the White House really did come out with a centrist plan.Klein: But I've read Robert Rubin's tax plan. He wants $1.8 trillion in new revenues. The White House, these days, is down to $1.2 trillion. I'm with Rubin on this one, but given our two political parties, the White House's offer seems more centrist. And you see this a lot. People say the White House should do something centrist like Simpson-Bowles, even though their plan has less in tax hikes and less in defense cuts. So it often seems like a no-win for them.
I know, like, and respect both of the discussants, and I think each of them has done us a service with this exchange -- Klein in having the initiative to propose the discussion and Brooks in having the menschy-ness to agree. It is worth close examination. I look forward to further reflections by both writers in their columns and (seriously) thank them for this start.