The S&P downgrade is the beginning of the end of the left-right war

A centrist constituency with real power is finally emerging. It isn’t a party or movement. It isn’t even American. It’s our creditors. The people from whom we borrow the money to live a deluded life of entitlements and tax cuts are telling us that the party is over…

There used to be many such politicians in Congress: people like Bob Dole, Howard Baker, Alan Simpson, and Lloyd Bentsen. Few remain. Fortunately, one of them has moved on to a more important job: He’s the president of the United States. Throughout the debt fight, he’s been scorned by the left for seeking consensus on default avoidance and debt reduction, even if it means entitlement cuts without tax increases. In other words, he’s doing what S&P says politicians should do. He’s willing to lose for the greater good.

I hope the partisans in Congress will join him. If they don’t, I hope we elect new people to Congress who think more like him. But if we don’t, and if we replace him with somebody who puts tax cuts before debt reduction, that election—the ultimate unfunded mandate—will soon be overridden by the pain of further credit downgrades and interest rate hikes. The middle, in the end, will rule.