MS. ROBERTS: But, of course, that's right. But I'm talking about the politics of it.
MR. DOWD: I think part of the problem is is that the premise of both parties right now is actually not true. The premise of the Democratic Party is you can't cut -- in the middle of an economic downturn, you can't make cuts in the budget because it'll make it worse. That's actually not been demonstrated to be true historically.
Republicans say you can't raise taxes in the midst of an economic downturn because it's going to make it worse. And that's not been demonstrated true historically. So both sides' talking points aren't really true.
MS. AMANPOUR: So, George, when it comes to the Republicans presidential contenders, they've been curiously quiet, well, certainly the frontrunner, Mitt Romney. What's all that about?
MR. WILL: Well, getting involved in this is optional folly because they can't control what's going to be said by people who will then soon be their surrogates. It's very clear that, if you're going to win the Republican presidential nomination, you're not going to be in favor of raising taxes at all. This is not just, Matt, about what's good for the economy in the next six months. This is a vision of what we want to have in the way of a government.
And this, by the way, is why we have elections and we are teeing up the 2012 election which is going to settle this -- not this action-forcing moment on the debt ceiling.
MS. ROBERTS: Well, that's exactly right. So let the 2012 election settle it and, now, let's get off of this precipice and go ahead and act like grownups in Washington.
MR. DOWD: But the problem with that -- to me, the problem with that is I think this is going to unfold and bleed out all over the Republican nomination process. But the problem with that is that's what we've been doing for 20 years. Every time we say we're going to settle this out, we're going to settle this out, we're going to have another commission, we're going to do this, and we get to the point, we have this crisis, we have a deadline just like everybody has in their lives, whether their work or their relationships or their kids, they set a deadline and, if they don't meet the deadline, there's accountability.
Washington doesn't seem to have the capacity to, when they don't meet a deadline, to have accountability for their actions. I think this -- people on both sides ought to -- leadership -- they ought to get something done whether it's small or whether it's big and not just punt the ball again to another election because that's what we've been doing.
MR. KARL: It's actually maddening to think you would go through another election to solve this. Right? (Laughter.)
MS. AMANPOUR: Well, let me talk about another issue. We played a little bit of what Michele Bachmann has said, you know, it's time to stop scaring the American people; I'm not going to raise the debt ceiling, et cetera. But she's also -- and she's making that the focus of her campaign.