Fiscal crash must be avoided, BUT elections matter

Let me respond to some of my Republican friends who write about the "fiscal cliff." I know more about the private thinking of highest-level Democrats in this town than any of them, and I guarantee they all want a bipartisan solution to avoid the fiscal cliff of automatic spending cuts and tax increases. They all understand that the solution must involve a compromise between both parties. The issue is where in the middle the two parties meet. The bottom line is that Democrats won the election of 2012 and won three of the last four national elections (2006, 2008, 2012). Voters have chosen: they want a solution closer to the Democratic and liberal position than the Republican and conservative position.

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There is not one high-level Democrat in the White House, the Senate or the House who "wants it all." Not one. In the run-up to the election, Republicans and conservatives repeated again and again that Obama and Democrats were headed towards a big defeat because voters rejected their views. They were wrong. Obama and Democrats won a big victory. Voters rejected the Republican and conservative views, as they did in three of the last four national elections.

The clear mandate of voters is (A) both parties must make some compromise to meet in the middle, (B) the middle should rest closer to the views expressed during the campaign by Democrats who won the election, (C) the views of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were rejected, and (D) the solution must involve some combination of tax increases for the wealthiest, preserving tax cuts for everyone else; responsible but not excessive cuts in defense; responsible but not cruel cuts in domestic programs.

Medicare should be included, but there are ways to include Medicare that ask those at the top to make a greater contribution and ways to lower healthcare costs for the program. When Republicans want to include their hostile policies towards and privatization proposals for Medicare and Social Security, they can run again, and lose again, advocating these policies in future elections. But their views were rejected by voters who chose Democrats defending Medicare and Social Security against Republicans.

Conservative Erick Erickson has launched a war against Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.). Fair enough. Erickson has that right. But if Republicans are dominated by primary attacks from the right, they will keep electing Democratic presidents and Democratic senators from states such as Missouri, Indiana and Delaware. Fair enough.

Harsh austerity in a slow economy is economic suicide and will not be the basis for bipartisan compromise. Voters rejected that. If the Republicans keep rejecting the will of the voters, the Democrats will keep winning elections.