Was anyone legitimately surprised Monday when news emerged from Washington, D.C., that lawmakers had at least informally agreed to the basics of a deal averting the so-called "fiscal cliff" that would have allowed massive across-the-board spending cuts and tax hikes to take effect today?
No, not really. Despite the weeks of bickering between Democrats and Republicans and the numerous lines drawn in the sand, everyone knew lawmakers would somehow, magically, reach a last-minute agreement. And as of late Monday afternoon, that appears to be exactly what was happening.
The point, then, is why waste weeks and weeks of time grandstanding, posturing and complaining about the other party being unwilling to work together in the nation's best interest? Why do leaders of both parties spend so much time declaring that they have comprised enough, and are unable to move from their party's position, only to at the last minute agree to compromise anyway?
It doesn't make lawmakers look good at all when they send out urgent press releases touting their ability to avoid the same fiscal cliff they've had months to avoid. It's likely this agreement in principle could have been reached weeks ago, or at least days ago. Lawmakers' willingness to teeter on the edge of such a massive deadline does nothing to instill confidence in our elected leaders.