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Simpson's Gift

Alan Simpson, the co-chair of the deficit commission, turns out to have written a nasty letter to a critic. Various liberals are predictably seizing on this as a reason to discredit the entire commission.

Jane Hamsher at FireDogLake:

Simpson’s childish outbursts, his clear contempt for those he patronizes as “the lesser people” he says he is trying to protect, and his ignorance about the program he is tasked with “fixing” are but symptoms of a greater problem...President Obama, it is not just Alan Simpson who needs to go. It’s time to shut down the entire commission.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos:

"Simpson as co-chair, when he obviously has a problem with telling the truth about Social Security, exemplifies the credibility problem for the entire commission..."

From the AARP:

“Sen. Simpson’s most recent departure from reality would be easy to dismiss if not for his position co-leading a Presidential commission that will likely recommend changes to Social Security.  Sen. Simpson's remarks not only cross the line of good judgment, but they undermine the serious work of the commission and give us little confidence the commission can fairly look at important programs such as Social Security.”

Obviously, Simpson's personality has nothing at all to do with the worthiness of whatever the commission proposes. Moreover, I happen to think that liberals should be open to Social Security cuts as part of a balanced package of deficit reduction. Whether or not that happens is, to say the least, an open question. But it has nothing to do with Alan Simpson being an ornery guy. We already knew that he was.