*Krugman tackles bipartisan cooperation

KRUGMAN TACKLES BIPARTISAN COOPERATION…. Former Rep. Joe Scarborough (R-Fla.) argued this morning that policymakers should adopt a “mixed” approach to an economic recovery package, and not just go “all left or all right in these times of crises.”

Ironically, Scarborough, who seems oddly detached from current events, had no idea that President Obama proceeded with this exact assumption in mind. Scarborough may not have been paying attention to the news, but the White House not only engaged congressional Republicans directly, but deliberately added unstimulative tax cuts to the package to help bring GOP lawmakers on board. Obama’s plan isn’t “all left” in the slightest.

Paul Krugman set the record straight, not only pointing out the ways in which Obama’s plan isn’t progressive enough, but by pointing out the difficulties in negotiating with reckless lawmakers who’ve apparently lost their minds. Krugman explained, for example, that the Senate just voted on a measure to scrap the stimulus altogether and replace it with an all-tax cut plan.

“We got 36 out of 41 Republican senators voting for that, which is completely crazy,” Krugman said. “So, how much bipartisan outreach can you have when 36 out of 41 Republican Senators take their marching orders from Rush Limbaugh?”

Good question. The answer, I suspect, is that you can’t have any real bipartisan outreach at all.

It’s similar to a point John Cole made very well yesterday: “I really don’t understand how bipartisanship is ever going to work when one of the parties is insane. Imagine trying to negotiate an agreement on dinner plans with your date, and you suggest Italian and she states her preference would be a meal of tire rims and anthrax. If you can figure out a way to split the difference there and find a meal you will both enjoy, you can probably figure out how bipartisanship is going to work the next few years.”

It’s painful to think about, but we’re facing the kind of crisis most of us have never seen before. The opposition party, when it’s not blatantly lying about the recovery plan, is offering ideas that are a) nonsensical; b) dangerous; or c) nonsensical and dangerous.

It makes the prospect of “bipartisanship” kind of silly.

Update: Ben Armbruster has more, including some of Krugman’s advice for Obama.

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