On NPR’s Weekend All Things Considered on Sunday night, host Arun Rath said good riddance to 2013: “What a rotten year for American politics and politicians. I would both bore and depress you if I listed all the problems President Obama and Congress have faced or created in 2013.”
For more gloomy talk, he turned to Matt Miller, a liberal Washington Post columnist, a man that James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal quipped his “sole purpose in life seems to be to make the New York Times's Charles Blow look thoughtful.” (Miller asserted that naturally, the Philippines typhoon should cause more support for Obamacare.) On NPR Sunday night, Miller suggested that the problem in American politics is that the almost-trillion dollars spent on the Obama stimulus was far too “timid” and inadequate a spending program:
ARUN RATH: So it feels like the mood in the country is really just that Americans are kind of hating both sides on this. And with that amount of discontent and cynicism, how do we move forward?
MATT MILLER: It's very tough. And I think that the reason both parties are held in such low esteem is because there's serious economic anxiety in the country and neither party seems to have a set of real answers. The Democrats talk about doing things, but even on jobs, for example, you've got President Obama at the height of his popularity was offering programs that would have created one to two million jobs through bigger infrastructure spending at a time when 20 million Americans who want full-time work can't find it. So why is Democratic ambition so -- timid?
And the Republicans are basically saying government can't do anything, cutting off a million people on unemployment insurance, you know, as a Christmas present when those folks are out looking for work, when you've got three or four people looking for jobs, you know, for every job that is available. And economists tell us that taking out that 25 billion in unemployment insurance that's been helping those people get by is going to take a big bite out of the economy and jobs in 2014. So people are right to be frustrated with what they're getting from both parties.
Rath asked “is this a time for the centrist to pull forward?” Miller suggested the GOP are too kooky, so only the Democrats can become the party of the center: “There is clearly an unrepresented center in American politics. I think that because the Republicans have shifted so far to the right and are in the grip of a much more limited view of government's role doing any kind of public problem-solving is going to be for the Democrats to try and occupy that political center.”
Miller also insisted the GOP hurt themselves “with this kind of crazy nihilistic government shutdown that did no good for their own party and also hurt America's standing in the world.”
Sadly, Miller is host of a public-radio program from NPR affiliate KCRW in the Los Angeles area called "Left, Right, and Center" that airs on almost 50 NPR affiliates....and he's apparently suppose to serve as the show's "center" between leftist former L.A. Times columnist Robert Scheer and National Review editor Rich Lowry.
Rath wrapped it up asking “Matt, can you give us something positive to take away from 2013 aside from the fact that it's going to be over in a few days?” Miller actually insisted the Warm and Fuzzy News of the year was Edward Snowden, the traitor:
MATT MILLER: Well, if you look at a figure like Edward Snowden, he clearly accomplished what he wanted to [Rath chortles], and had an enormous impact on a public debate that was certainly overdue. By being able to share all this classified information about programs that had been dimly understood but, you know, never the subject at the center of national attention, he achieved his objectives. He forced, you know, an overdue debate on the balance between privacy and security in an age of big data. And he basically set the global media agenda not just in the U.S. but in major capitals all over the world.