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Since then, he has done nothing to produce a viable alternative.

Instead, he talks about negotiating with Republicans from both chambers to cobble together some kind of grand compromise behind closed doors.

In addition to making a mockery of the message voters sent Congress last fall, Mr. Reid’s strategy is exactly the opposite of the open and honest manner in which House Speaker John A. Boehner conducted last month’s spending debate in the House.

But in the end, the only way Mr. Reid gets this done is the only way he ever gets things done. In a dark alley, where horses can be traded and vast amounts of your money can be used to buy the votes of individual lawmakers.

If history in this town is any guide, that’s exactly how this current impasse will be broken and next year we will be right back where we are now.

Charles Hurt’s column appears Wednesdays. He can be reached at