Thomas Friedman: G.O.P. 'A Danger to Itself and to the Country'

Times columnist Thomas Friedman declared the G.O.P. 'a danger to itself and to the country' in his Wednesday column, 'No Christie, No Bargain.'

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey isn't going to run. That's too bad. He had a chance to rescue the Republican Party from its dash to the cliff and make President Obama a better leader, too.

Here's why: When the G.O.P. presidential candidates were asked during their debate on Aug. 11 whether any of them would accept a budget deal that involved $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases - and they all said no - the Republican Party officially became a danger to itself and to the country.

The G.O.P. became a danger to the country because it announced, in effect, that it would not be a partner for the kind of Grand Bargain that many economists believe we need - something that provides more near-term investment in the economy that spurs job growth, combined with a credible long-term plan to increase tax revenues and trim entitlements so the country's debt-to-G.D.P. ratio stays in a safe range. Such a Grand Bargain would simultaneously boost the economy and optimism by its economic logic and the mere fact of the two parties working together.

As long as we're juggling hypothetical numbers: Would Democratic politicians embrace a similar budget deal, one that involved, say, $9 in spending cuts for $0 in tax increases? Doubtful. Yet Friedman would be loathe to call the Democratic Party 'a danger to the country.'