Arugula & sausage


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Governing, as we all should have discovered by now, is not nice, fresh, organic arugula — as great as nice, fresh, organic arugula is. Remember that extraordinary pop of pepper you get at that first bite, among all those other tastes?

Me, too.

Governing — as opposed to campaigning and yakking about hope until we all believe we live somewhere near either the Dalai Lama or the political Field of Dreams — is, as the cliché goes, sausage. Specifically, making the damn stuff. Governing is not really for the arugula at heart.

The world at large (not to mention the world not at large) does not have all that much time for those who are arugula at heart, as much as I love those people. And love arugula.

The world is for the sausage at heart.

(Of course, sausage will eventually slay the heart, or at least romance; some would say this proves that the world is still governed by ancient Greek tragedy, though others strenuously contend that ancient Greek comedy is in control. They're probably both right, which is how the world works these days, such as it ever works.)

Which brings us to the President Obama/Republican deal on the Bush-era tax cuts. Talk about your sausage at heart.

The deal has irritated some conservatives, but it has absolutely enraged a lot of people on the left, because the rich get to keep their tax cuts for at least two years. The lefties seem to forget that the deal also extends unemployment benefits for around 2 million people who absolutely need them.

Talk about your arugula at heart.

Just for the record, a new Pew Center poll finds that 60 percent of Americans polled support the tax deal, 22 percent oppose it. Not that we need to turn into Poll-Land or anything. Although we probably already have.

Some critics remain unmoved and not just my pals on the left. Take Sen. Mary Landrieu, D-La., who would not be considered a liberal by any scale except for that developed by Attila the Hun.

"This is beyond politics," she said. "This is about justice and doing what's right." She then went on to condemn "the almost, you know, moral corruptness" of tax cuts for the rich.


Louisiana politics, for the most part, makes Chicago politics look squeaky clean. Which, you have to admit whatever your political leanings or non-leanings, is something of a spectacular feat. So I guess we'll take Landrieu's word for it that she knows "corruptness" when she sees it. Though I think most of us would say "corruption."

In any case, it's nice to know she's so adamantly against tax cuts for millionaires now. In 2001, you might remember, she was one of the very few Democrats who voted to put those George W. Bush tax cuts for millionaires in place. I guess the tax cuts didn't involve "corruptness" then.

Then there's Felix Rohatyn, now an investment banker, but in the Middle Ages, he was one of the guys who saved New York City when it went bankrupt (or almost bankrupt). And, OK, it was actually the 1970s, which might as well be the Middle Ages, given the strong grasp of history most Americans have.

These days, Rohatyn does not seem intent on saving the tax deal.

"It seems to me that crying wolf is probably a good thing to do at this point," he said. "I don't like to play the scared rabbit, but I just don't see where the end of this is."

"Sobering," writes William D. Cohan in the New York Times, who also dislikes the tax deal.

Well, it's always sobering when you mix your metaphors that badly. Not to mention that "to cry wolf" is to raise a false alarm. Surely, Rohatyn did not mean to either raise a false alarm or to propose that raising a false alarm would be a good thing.

So, those of you who love the arugula diet, Landrieu and Rohatyn are your comrades in arms? Not to mention Sarah Palin and Christine "I am not a Witch" O'Donnell.

Nice company you keep.

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