Can't anyone in Washington play this game?
It may be best, at this point, to simply quote Casey Stengel's infamous yelp of frustration about the 1962 Mets: "Can't anybody here play this game?"
If the '62 Mets were the worst team in major league history, it's also fair to wonder whether any Congress has ever been more dysfunctional, with less cause, than this one. And whether there is a single politician left in Washington who can behave like a leader, or even play one on TV. Asked about the prospects for seeing some production out of the hitless and shut-out supercommittee--even a late-inning bid to solve part of the problem by delegating its special fast-track powers to regular congressional committees--Steve Bell of the Bipartisan Policy Center harked hopefully back to Senate precedent.
In 1983, when Social Security was on the verge of default, Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan and Republican Bob Dole broke through with an eleventh-hour revenue-raising compromise. After the debt-ceiling compromise last summer, Sen. John Kerry, a supercommittee member who has tried hard to locate some middle ground, cited that earlier episode as a great legislative moment for compromise.
But back in the 1980s there was a more responsible debate about the balance between revenue and taxes, and a sense of leadership that transcended party. Bob Dole was a quirky sour puss, but he was also a war hero and a commanding statesman of the Senate. It's quite clear that Republican co-chair Jeb Hensarling, who is afraid of offending the GOP leadership he desperately wants to remain part of - a team that in turn is terrified of offending Grover Norquist - will never be Bob Dole.