David Brooks: Fiscal Cliff Blame Should Largely Go To Republicans


New York Times columnist David Brooks said Sunday that Republicans should shoulder most of the blame if lawmakers do not reach an agreement on the fiscal cliff ahead of Tuesday's deadline.

"What's happening in Washington right now is pathetic. When you think about what the revolutionary generation did, what the civil war generation did, what the World War II generation did -- we're asking not to bankrupt our children and we've got a shambolic, dysfunctional process," Brooks said during an appearance on NBC's "Meet the Press."

"Most of the blame still has to go to the Republicans," he continued. "They've had a brain freeze since the election. They have no strategy. They don't know what they want. They haven't decided what they want."

Brooks' comments echoed a similar assessment from President Obama, who sat down with "Meet the Press" for an interview that aired Sunday morning.

"We have been talking to the Republicans ever since the election was over. They have had trouble saying yes to a number of repeated offers," Obama said. "[S]o far, at least, Congress has not been able to get this stuff done. Not because Democrats in Congress don't want to go ahead and cooperate, but because I think it's been very hard for Speaker Boehner and Republican Leader McConnell to accept the fact that taxes on the wealthiest Americans should go up a little bit, as part of an overall deficit reduction package."

But Brooks also reserved some of his criticism for the president, stating that Obama has at times "governed like a visitor from a morally superior civilization," appearing to undermine the very point he'd made about the value of the high moral fiber of previous generations just seconds earlier.

"He comes in here and he'll talk to [John] Boehner, he won't talk to the other Republicans," Brooks said. "He hasn't built the trust. Boehner actually made a pretty serious concession, $800 billion in tax revenues, probably willing to go up on rates. But the trust wasn't there. If the president wants to get stuff done over the next four years, it's got to be about a lot more than just making the intellectual concessions."

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