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September 26, 2013 10:49 AM Equivalency Formula Works Wonders

By Ed Kilgore

In using rather extreme language (I suppose “an evil child’s wish list for Santa” is kind of extreme) for Boehner’s debt limit bill, I somehow failed to account for the magic Equivalency Formula whereby all GOP demands are by definition no less unreasonable than Democratic demands. Here’s Ron Fournier’s tweet about the latest debt limit developments:

“Insane:” R/D partisans playing to debt limit brink. No talks. No leadership. All positioning.

This tweet comes with a link to a Greg Sargent piece this morning calling Boehner’s debt limit strategy “insane” and requesting that journalists point that out. Indeed, Greg could have been pointing a finger at Fournier himself:

[S]tory after story portrays this as a battle in which both sides are asking the other to make concessions, and in which it remains to be seen whether a compromise will be reached. But the real ”compromise” position here is one in which Republicans and Dems cooperate to avert economic catastrophe for the country. It is not a “compromise” if Dems unilaterally give up concessions in exchange for Republican cooperation in making it possible to pay debts already incurred and thus averting economic disaster for all of us. In this scenario, Republicans aren’t giving up anything. Only Dems are.

So unsurprisingly, Sargent responded to Fournier’s tweet by saying: “Sigh. I lose.”

At the risk of getting maudlin about it all, I’d say we all lose when respected journalists look at something like Boehner’s debt limit bill and see it as no worse than the President saying we ought to pay our bills and keep that separate from our differences over spending and taxing. The Equivalency Formula makes it impossible to see clown clothes, and thus encourages clowns to cut capers even more.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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