Matthews: Republicans, Democrats can’t face key long-term challenges

Updated

Let me finish tonight with this.

I generally have faith in our democracy to meet this country’s purposes. What I fear, and try not to let me down, is that it lacks the nerve to face the long-term challenges.

The big two: debt and immigration.

I don’t think you can call yourselves a government if you can’t keep your books. I don’t think you can call yourselves a country if you can’t control your borders. After all, these are fundamental to governance and to nationhood, aren’t they?

I look at the debt problem and I don’t see the two parties getting together. I don’t see it between now and the election. I don’t see it after the election.  

To get control of the rising debt you have to reconcile spending and revenue at some point. Otherwise you keep on adding debt. You have to decide how much you are willing to tax people and spend that amount, or you have to decide how much you should spend and raise revenues up to that amount.  

The arithmetic is easy. The politics seem hopeless.  

The Republicans, if they ran the entire government, would find it impossible to do it because they would have to cut programs, like Medicare, with such brutality that they would cease to control the government in the next election. 

Would Democrats deal with debt if they had complete control of the government? I wonder if the public would put up with the tax level they would impose. Don’t you?

So we’ve got a problem, and it’s similar on immigration. 

Put Republicans in complete control of immigration and they might be draconian and start deporting people or putting so much economic pressure on them that they would, in Governor Romney’s phrase, “self-deport.” But would this society stand for having people who’ve lived here generations thrown out of the country? Would they?

Would Democrats ever deal with illegal immigration? Would they ever put in effect real enforcement that stops the flow each night over the border? I wonder. Would they do it without the political pressure of Republicans pounding them if they didn’t? I doubt it.     

So here’s the problem. If neither party can be trusted to solve these looming questions by themselves, and if the two parties aren’t getting together to solve them, when will the problems be faced?

I’ve just given you the reasons for my fear.  

Hardball Let Me Finish

Matthews: Republicans, Democrats can't face key long-term challenges

Updated