Ezra Klein still thinks Simpson-Bowles failed:
The point of the Simpson-Bowles commission wasn't full employment for budget wonks. It was consensus. Instead, the Simpson-Bowles commission has led to a further fracturing: The progressives have gone toward Schakowsky, wonkish types have moved toward Rivlin and the BPC, and the center-right has been cautiously supportive of Simpson-Bowles. Some are spinning all this as a different sort of victory. In this telling, Simpson-Bowles has kicked off a healthy discussion. And maybe it is. But it's a failure given the original goals of the project. Far from showing that we can all agree, it's proved that we can't.
Ezra sounds like me on the Iraq surge - and indeed it is important to note that the deficit commission was designed to create consensus, not fracture it. But instant consensus was never going to happen, and the process has already aired vital data. If it merely gets across to most Americans that the medicine for our current impasse cannot be an earmark ban, it's done something. If Obama can grasp it and make fiscal reform his own, it will have done something remarkable. Besides, as Reihan notes:
(3) My sense is that the team behind the Bowles-Simpson co-chairs’ mark understood that it would a lightning rod.
(4) I’m not sure that the Bowles-Simpson conversation hasn’t shown us that the center and the right can agree on many important aspects of how we can address the fiscal imbalance. And that just might be all we need.
As Reihan notes, it has also flushed out the real liberals: Pelosi and Schakowsky, who really do represent liberal fiscal irresponsibility almost as reckless as the Republicans'.