Op-Ed of the Day: The “Norquists of the left”

Jon Avlon in The Daily Beast says it’s great that some leading Republicans are turning their backs on Grover Norquist’s anti-tax pledge that the Washington Post refers to as “a sacred and unchallenged keystone of the Republican platform for more than two decades.”

But now, Avlon says, Democrats need to “step up on entitlement.” Obama seemed willing during the summer 2011 negotiations with Speaker John Boehner.

Among the specifics the White House proposed were $1 trillion in spending cuts over 10 years, as well as significant cuts and cost adjustments to Medicare and Social Security. There was evident willingness to take on liberal sacred cows and special interests.

But Avlon wonders whether the Congressional Democrats will stand up to “the Norquists of the left.”

That is the big question. Labor unions rightly believe that they were essential to the president’s winning coalition and ground-game effort in the November election. They and many liberal partisans will insist that now is not the time to make any concessions, especially on core philosophic policies like Social Security and Medicaid. They will find comfort in the arguments of some party activists and pundits who say there is no problem, that the fiscal cliff is a myth, and that current levels of deficits and debt are perfectly sustainable, especially if we just soak the rich. They are, like their conservative corollaries, embracing a feel-good reality distortion field.

leaders.jpg(L-R) House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) speak to the media at the White House on November 16, 2012 in Washington, DC. The Congressional leaders met with U.S. President Barack Obama to discuss deficit reduction and other economic issues. (Photo by Roger Wollenberg/Getty Images)

We’re asking Jon Avlon to join us on the show.

–Stephanie Curtis, social media host