This means blaming "Congress" as a whole, ignoring that one side is too willing to compromise and the other refuses to budge. It has led pundits like Thomas Friedman to chastise President Obama for not seeking policies he has clearly sought, and tiresome pleas for a Third Party, which advocates for exactly what Obama and centrist Democrats are hoping to achieve.
Greg Sargent puts it this way:
Self-styled “centrist” columnists have a perennial problem on their hands. They have built reputations by calling for middle-of-the-road solutions to our problems. Yet they can’t acknowledge that Obama and Democrats are the ones who are offering solutions that are genuinely centrist, because that would constitute “taking sides.” This would imperil their “brand,” which rests heavily on transcending partisanship, and on their ongoing insistence that the future depends on following a middle ground between the parties.Today, Paul Krugman writes that the Republicans will not pay any political price for its intransigence when the Super Committee fails because the news media won't point out that only one side refused to compromise. In a not-so-veiled swipe at Friedman, Krugman makes the point perfectly:
Oh, and let me give a special shout-out to “centrist” pundits who won’t admit that President Obama has already given them what they want. The dialogue seems to go like this. Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?” Mr. Obama: “I support a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes.” Pundit: “Why won’t the president come out for a mix of spending cuts and tax hikes?”
You see, admitting that one side is willing to make concessions, while the other isn’t, would tarnish one’s centrist credentials. And the result is that the G.O.P. pays no price for refusing to give an inch.