If, like the hero of Rafael Sabatini’s wonderful adventure novel Scaramouche, you were “born with the gift of laughter and a sense that the world was mad,” you no doubt guffawed as I did at the CBS News show 60 Minutes‘ reaction to the failure of the mis-named super-committee. Those twelve stout-hearted congressional heroes were assigned the task of cutting 1.2 trillion dollars out of a 44 trillion dollar deficit over the course of ten years — so minuscule a drop in so vast a bucket that it wouldn’t even have gone plink when it hit the bottom. And they couldn’t do it — couldn’t do even so little as that.
In the wake of such abject failure, 60 Minutes might have noted that President Obama — who has increased the debt more rapidly than any other president — showed precisely zero leadership during the committee negotiations. He demagogued the issue in public while leaving committee members without support or guidance behind the scenes. The news show might also have pointed out that committee Democrats rejected offers from Republicans that would have given them some of the increased tax revenue they so desperately crave.
But no, of course not. Instead 60 Minutes rushed into the fray with a profile of anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whom “many” (translation: the Democrats at CBS News) blame for scuttling the process. Well, for uproarious predictability and silliness, it was good for a spit-take anyway. As for the truth of the matter, the mighty Krauthammer has it here.
And look, I like to have fun as much as the next fellow, but our journalism can’t be all frivolity and games, ever delighting us anew with fresh examples of clownish buffoonery. Along with the delightful hijinks, there are some serious questions that ought to be asked.