Sen. Judd Gregg never disappoints

Supposedly a potential savior for healthcare reform, senator hits White House on deficit-reduction commission

Published February 12, 2010 9:37PM (EST)

It seems like just yesterday that Politico was suggesting that Sen. Judd Greg, R-N.H., could be a possible savior of healthcare reform, someone the White House could reach out to for that elusive 60th Senate vote.

Oh, wait. It was yesterday, and our own Gabriel Winant quite ably took down the article and its rather silly premise.

On Friday, as if to drive the point home, Gregg gave an interview to CNN in which he slammed -- and not for the first time -- President Obama's plan to create a commission that would, theoretically, come up with some solutions to the federal budget deficit.

Then, to top it off, Gregg offered this brilliant idea for dealing with the deficit: "Stop spending. Let's stop spending. Let's stop adding to the debt."

This sort of line sounds like good common sense -- which is why people like Gregg use it, because it plays well politically. But it's not common sense; in fact, it exposes anyone who uses it as either ignorant or unserious. The thing that looks to make federal deficits totally unsustainable in the near future isn't what Congress spends on a whim or because of campaign contributions or an old-fashioned love of pork; it's the money the government is already committed to spend on entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare.

By Alex Koppelman

Alex Koppelman is a staff writer for Salon.

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Judd Gregg R-n.h.