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Hyperbole, seriously

I watch the posturizing during the arguments over the expiration of the 2001/2003 Tax Plans, the triggering of the debt-related sequestration of spending cuts, and what is generally referred to as the fiscal cliff.

And I wonder -- how does so much hyperbole qualify as negotiation?

Each side has taken a public stance in which they declare that the other is "not serious" about the negotiations. Whenever someone puts a proposal forward, it seems mandatory that the other side must dismiss both the proposal and the person as "not serious".

I imagine that, were I on one of the sides, I would take a proposal, mark what I found acceptable, draw a red-line through what is unacceptable, highlight and question what requires further clarification and return the document. And I would expect the same response to any proposal I put forward.

If, instead, my proposal was dismissed publicly as "not serious", two things would be immediately clear:

(1) the complainer is not serious about their dismissal of the proposal; and
(2) it will be very hard to continue with another step in the negotiation.

I have not been involved in a public negotiation of this type -- ever. But I can hardly imagine that this is how it is supposed to proceed. Instead, it looks like a "reality show", in which the conflicts are scripted into the show in order to attract an audience and build a false tension.

This posturizing is insulting. It tells the public that this negotiation is a false, scripted, "reality show", and that we, the gullible audience, are being played as fools willing to be entertained.

Do they believe that kind of treatment of the public lead to Good Government? They're not serious.

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