Mandatory Ezra Klein item

Mickey Kaus Columnist
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Clustersuck: Tell me again why we must be outraged that WaPo‘s Ezra Klein gave a briefing to Democratic Senate aides. “’I have never heard of a reporter briefing staffers,'” sniffs “[a] longtime Washington editor.”  On a normal day, you see, Klein is regurgitating what Democratic aides and experts tell him. Isn’t it ethical progress if the spin goes in the other direction for a change? If only I thought that were really true in Klein’s case.** …

Still, on purely partisan (as opposed to ethical) grounds, Dems should worry that some of their cadres may actually put faith in Klein’s judgment. In the past week he has

1) argued the Supercommittee’s failure was not such a bad thing because it had been planning to agree on only the relatively easy budget cuts, and making the toughest budget calls–e.g. to raise taxes, cut entitlements and defense–

will be even harder if all the low-hanging fruit is already picked.

Does this make any sense at all? Isn’t it easier to make the tougher budget calls if all the other alternatives are gone? It’s not as if the savings from the “low hanging fruit” won’t be real if the fruit is picked now. So pick it. …

2) argued that the impending expiration of the Bush tax cuts (plus the scheduled across-the-board sequester) puts Democrats “in the driver’s seat,” because if nothing is done Dems will get an “extremely progressive” tax increase.  Klein”s a bit baffled that “Republicans don’t seem particularly worried” while “Democrats don’t seem particularly interested in pressing their advantage.” Maybe that’s because it’s not much of an advantage! Do Democrats really want to run in 2012 by somehow trying to blame a massive, broad tax increase (during a recession) on Republicans who opposed it? Experienced kf reader E comments: “There is probably some sort of Dem leverage there, but it’s not that they can live with an across the board restoration of the Clinton tax rates.”

I hope the Senate aides were just flattering Klein–reverse source-greasing–and not actually seeking his guidance. …


**–It’s not like Klein turned around and wrote a one-sided post, “In praise of congressional staff.” … Oh.

Mickey Kaus