A larger answer, I’d guess, is Simpson-Bowles syndrome — the belief that good things must come in bipartisan packages, and that fiscal probity is the overriding issue of our times. This syndrome persists among many self-proclaimed centrists even though it’s overwhelmingly clear to anyone who has been paying attention that (a) today’s Republicans simply will not compromise with a Democratic president, and (b) the alleged fiscal crisis was vastly overblown.
… There are, I suppose, some people who are disappointed that Mr. Obama didn’t manage to make our politics less bitter and polarized. But that was never likely. The real question was whether he (with help from Nancy Pelosi and others) could make real progress on important issues. And the answer, I’m happy to say, is yes, he could.
In recent decades Mr. Cochran, a six-term veteran, has used his senior status on the Appropriations Committee to make these very neighborhoods possible: He steered nearly $80 million to DeSoto County to help build new wastewater treatment facilities to meet the growing demand that has come with the surge in commercial and residential construction.
Mr. Cochran’s backers note that the earmarking of such money — now taboo in the Tea Party era — has kept utility bills in the county reasonable and prevented higher local taxes.
“People in DeSoto County, many of whom work in Memphis and have not been there very long, they don’t know about Ingalls shipyard, they don’t care about Columbus Air Force Base, Meridian Naval Air Station, the Army Corps of Engineers center in Vicksburg, the Stennis Space Center,” said former Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi, who backs Mr. Cochran, reeling off places and projects that mean precious little to many voters here.