Washington: Please Find Your Barber B. Conable

Barber Conable speaks during the International Monetary Fund/World Bank meeting in Berlin on Sept. 29, 1988 Photograph by Heribert Proepper/AP Photo

“There’s a point where panic will set in, but not yet, apparently,” Senator Ben Nelson, a Nebraska Democrat, said today in an interview when asked about the progress of talks. “I’m concerned.”

—Kathleen Hunter, “Reid Says Parties Making Little Progress on Fiscal Cliff,” Bloomberg News, November 27, 2012.

This will be short as I’m writing on an iPhone. (They did not have iPhones at Iwo Jima.)

On cue, our fearless leaders are migrating to impasse. Each and every interview suggests varied outcomes with one major hedge. That hedge is business as usual.

Others can watch the “leadership.” I will focus on the likes of the senator, he who exits Stage Omaha soon.

Nelson (D-Warren Buffett), and across the aisle Snowe of Maine, illustrate a vanishing common sense that seems to elude Teams Polarized seeking smoking guns.

This middle ground is in my very fabric.

Panic, as described by the senator, will descend. It is 2012 and we step in our collective and mean fog toward the edge of the cliff.

Good Ben Nelson is channeling my congressman, my political hero. The representative learned Japanese, fought at Iwo Jima, encored in Korea, and then served, seeking debate and compromise. He, on a dark evening, told his friend Dick Nixon it was over.

In this selfish time, as Nelson exits, we all, all, must beg “Washington”: Please find your Barber B. Conable. Discuss.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.