Thursday, July 28, 2011


House Speaker John Boehner can't get the votes for his debt-raising bill, which will be dead moments after it hits the Senate floor, because teabaggers are pissed off about what they call a "welfare program" -- Pell Grants! And people wonder why the USA may be losing it's edge in the global economy. (Clue: education, as in the money Germany spends to get ahead on things like alternative energy as a post-industrial nation. You know, what the Fox wing calls "Eurosocialism.")

With the Republican Party straining to keep it's warring factions together as they send all of us headlong towards massive interest rates and the downgrading of our nation in world financial markets, maybe the mainstream media will finally stop with the false equivalences. Per Paul Krugman on "The Centrist Cop-Out":
The facts of the crisis over the debt ceiling aren’t complicated. Republicans have, in effect, taken America hostage, threatening to undermine the economy and disrupt the essential business of government unless they get policy concessions they would never have been able to enact through legislation. And Democrats — who would have been justified in rejecting this extortion altogether — have, in fact, gone a long way toward meeting those Republican demands.

Some of us have long complained about the cult of “balance,” the insistence on portraying both parties as equally wrong and equally at fault on any issue, never mind the facts. I joked long ago that if one party declared that the earth was flat, the headlines would read “Views Differ on Shape of Planet.” But would that cult still rule in a situation as stark as the one we now face, in which one party is clearly engaged in blackmail and the other is dickering over the size of the ransom?

The answer, it turns out, is yes. And this is no laughing matter: The cult of balance has played an important role in bringing us to the edge of disaster. For when reporting on political disputes always implies that both sides are to blame, there is no penalty for extremism. Voters won’t punish you for outrageous behavior if all they ever hear is that both sides are at fault.


But making nebulous calls for centrism, like writing news reports that always place equal blame on both parties, is a big cop-out — a cop-out that only encourages more bad behavior. The problem with American politics right now is Republican extremism, and if you’re not willing to say that, you’re helping make that problem worse.

So here's how I game it out. The GOP leadership manages to twist enough arms and create a horrific enough bill, filled with damage and fantasies, that they squeak out the votes they need to get it to the Senate. If not, they should all quit because they will have shown a 100% inability to govern. Next the bill is killed or amended to a more acceptable form in the Senate and, probably due to behind-the-scenes negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a bad but not 100% tragic bill gets 60 votes needed for closure and passes. It goes into Conference Committee with the House leadership as time ticks away, hopefully stays pretty much the same, and now it gets interesting.

Since the Dems have compromised to the point of near-ridiculousness but are the adults in the room, they all vote for it in the House. Now the trick for John Boehner, to keep from going down in history as the man who crashed the global economy, is to get enough Republican House votes to make up a majority, including covering a few odd Dems who don't vote for it.

When Obama signs the bill, three major things happen. For one, he gets to claim a bi-partisan bill passed. Two, the GOP fractures like broken glass as the 'baggers and fellow rightwing extremists revolt against their leadership, possibly to the point of Boehner getting voted out by the caucus. And three, unless something very odd happens, the GOP is shamed in public by their inability to pass anything themselves, self-castrated, and a horrific bet to any thinking American of any political persuasion in 2012.

And that's how the President gets re-elected, if not a flip back to Dem majority in the House, once that can actually pass legislation. It's those who can't even govern themselves vs. the man who killed Bin Laden.

If the above scenario comes to pass, I'll bet it won't be a hard decision for most Americans at all.

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