So much for that Simpson-Bowles backing

With just three weeks to go before election day, Republican Congressional candidate Brendan Doherty scored a neat little coup: winning a joint a statement of support from former Republican Senator Alan Simpson and former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton Erskine Bowles.

Simpson and Bowles, of course, co-chaired a commission appointed by President Obama that aimed to craft a bi-partisan solution to the nation's debt problem, combining cuts and new tax revenue. The Simpson-Bowles proposal - however flawed - became a symbol of the sort of centrist, serious approach to policymaking too often absent from Washington.

It was, in short, a perfect emblem for the sort of candidacy Doherty was selling. And it put the candidate in pretty select company - as far as I can tell, just two other candidates, Republican Congressman Charlie Bass in New Hampshire and Democratic Senate candidate Bob Kerrey of Nebraska, won the backing of Simpson and Bowles.

Just one problem: all three of the candidates they backed lost last week.

It is as good a symbol as any of our increasingly polarized politics - and the difficulties President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner will face as they inch closer to the fiscal cliff.

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