So political writers who haven’t already checked out for the weekend are awaiting confirmation that the fiscal “summit” held at the White House this afternoon produced zilch, as would appear to be the case since congressional leaders from both parties left the premises post-haste and without comment. If it goes the way it looks, it will be another sign of the phoniness of the whole “fiscal cliff” meme and the vast machinery of hysteria that runs the risk of making the doom-saying a self-fulfilling prophecy.

But if the situation is confusing to those of us forced to follow it almost hourly, how can we expect the public to “get it”? That’s where journalism is supposed to, and ought to, come in.

The editors and publishers of the Washington Monthly have no illusions this fine old magazine will ever have a mass readership. But the Monthly has long accepted as a key part of its mission a determination to influence subversives inside and beyond the Beltway with uncomfortable questions and inquiries–along with fighting the cynicism about the possibility of accountable government so apparent right now.

If you’d like to help with this mission–and should it be relevant to your situation, get a tax deduction–please make a donation to the Monthly before closing your books for the year. Once we finally go over the “fiscal cliff” and survive, it will be time to get more serious about the country’s problems.

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Ed Kilgore is a political columnist for New York and managing editor at the Democratic Strategist website. He was a contributing writer at the Washington Monthly from January 2012 until November 2015, and was the principal contributor to the Political Animal blog.