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Matthews on the 'dull' debt debate

Let me finish tonight with this dreadful, dispiriting, debasing, dueling diatribe over the debt.Both sides now have the other pegged.

Let me finish tonight with this dreadful, dispiriting, debasing, dueling diatribe over the debt.

Both sides now have the other pegged. It's why the Spanish don't allow the fighting bull to be fought a second time. He now knows the matador as well as the matador knows "him."  You no longer hear the "Ole's" shouted from the stands, no longer see the heads of the crowd turning to catch each charge of the bull. 

It's gotten - dare I say it - dull.

It isn't of course. Not if you count the stakes and not if you get past the rivalry out in the arena to the world at large. The world at large has a lot riding on this, a lot more than a political election. The world at large - meaning America - this country - is ready to go down a notch over this little contest among politicians. 

I know why it's important to raise revenues as well as cut spending. We tax 15 percent of the economy and spend 25 percent.  Only a hard partisan can't see the need to bring up revenue and bring down spending to something like 20 percent of the economy.  Perhaps tending a bit above that level to account for an aging population running up health costs, not even counting the need to do something about education in this country, and infrastructure - both of which are deteriorating.

I know, also, why it's important to do this debt thing quickly, as the president has been urging. On both counts - the revenue issue and the timing issue - I'm with him.

What I don't understood is why it's so important to avoid another debate in 2012 - say, six months from now - that would permit a second step in the hiking of the debt ceiling.  So if that's the only rub the President may have to sign on.

Where the Republicans have to give way - and do so immediately - is on the balanced budget amendment to the constitution.  This is no time to be debating something like this, not with the clock ticking.  They also have to give way on getting their right-wing auxiliary, the freshmen elected in the tea party excitement, to vote on a debt hike now. 

They can choose between Rep. Bachman's wild version of politics and reason, but they have to do it fast. If she is ready to risk letting the country take a dive and enjoy the thrill of a wild dance on the political right. 

If they give, and the President gives on a second step to this debt ceiling hike, we could have a deal.  If not, we won't.