compromising yourself into the discussion
I feel like Ross is sort of missing the point concerning Matt Yglesias’s post that he quotes. To me, the central point of Matt’s post isn’t that deficits don’t matter in a time of financial crisis and liquidity traps; the point is that, when Republicans aren’t going to play ball no matter what, why not cram a bill full of things Democrats want? By refusing to vote for the stimulus package en masse, the Republicans have cut themselves out of the game. If some number of them would get on board, given the many large concessions that Democrats have made in hopes of enticing them, then they’d have something to bargain with. But by signalling that they were uninterested in compromise, they became an obstacle to work around or run over. If that’s going to be the case either way, why not work to help the liberal cause?
I’m not much of a centrist but it seems to me that this is a useful moderating mechanism in a representative democracy. The more that one side or the other plugs their ears and refuses to compromise, the less incentive there is to include their concerns– or the concerns of their constituents– at all. Of course, this is only useful if your side is in power. And now my side is, and like Yglesias I would like our Democratic leadership to remember that and act accordingly.