Our Surplus Of Partisan Hacks


Maybe some of our older readers can help give me a reality check here, but were the blue ribbon commissions of the 1950s through 1980s as deeply compromised and flawed as the ones today?

Even as late as the 9/11 commission earlier this decade, you could put together a group of distinguished citizens and expect they would yield a consensus that bore some relation to reality and wasn’t shamelessly partisan. Not that the 9/11 commission didn’t have its flaws, but you couldn’t dismiss its findings out of hand.

But look at the two big commissions recently charged with addressing what were arguably national crises.The recent Bowles-Simpson deficit commission turned out to be a joke. Now we have the Republicans on the commission charged with determining the causes of the 2008 financial crisis jumping ship and preemptively releasing their own report, without the Democratic and independent members of the commission.

In assessing the origins of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression, the Republican commissioners urged that several phrases be banned from the commission’s final report, including “Wall Street,” reports Shahien Nasiripour. Among the partisan oddities contained in the Republican commissioners’ own report is a call for deficit reduction. Maybe they got confused about which commission they were on.

Perhaps there’s consolation in the fact that both of these commissions were arguably set up to fail, stacked with enough partisan hacks to doom them from the get-go. But that’s small consolation.


David Kurtz is Managing Editor and Washington Bureau Chief of Talking Points Memo where he oversees the news operations of TPM and its sister sites.