Sunday, September 29, 2013

Giving up brinkmanship

I am feeling quite chirpy about my chances of buying some artificially depressed stocks later this month.

The New York Times reports:

WASHINGTON — House Republican leaders said on Sunday that they still believed a government shutdown beginning on Tuesday could be averted if Democrats would accept at least some of their demands to scale back President Obama’s health care law.

“I think the House will get back together, in enough time, send another provision not to shut the government down but to fund it, and it will have a few other options in there for the Senate to look at,” Representative Kevin McCarthy, the House Republican whip, said on “Fox News Sunday.”
Right, because the Democrats would never, ever suspect that if they give away part of the health care law Monday, the Republicans will come back for the rest of it two weeks from now in the debt ceiling vote. No, that would never happen, because the Republicans are honest and sensible.

A former newspaper colleague expressed it more emotionally in a Facebook post (I have toned down his language a little):

The House GOP leadership reminds me of my biological father, a similar kind of bullying terrorist freak show who preyed on the most vulnerable. When my sisters and I were very small, he had a favorite method of winning heated arguments he was losing with my mom in our packed family vehicle as it hurtled down the San Bernardino Freeway near LA circa 1962. "If you say one more word, I'm driving this damn car right off the side of this damn freeway!" he would roar, and we kids had no doubt he was dead serious. "Mom, be quiet!!!" we would wail, gripped by a fear that only kids with a lunatic for a parent can relate to and share. Or the vulnerable in a nation led by Republican suicide bombers who hate poor people and seem intent on morally and spiritually bankrupt economic jihad and the politics of fear. Too bad my father is dead, he'd take these  cowardly creeps out for a Sunday drive down memory lane until they too wet their pants. Posers. Go ahead, make our day . . .
 It was a crazy Republican, John Dulles, who invented (or if he did not invent, personified) the term brinkmanship, but he wasn't crazy enough to actually take his country over the brink (or, at least, he never could carry the rest of the government along with him). The 21st-century Republicans have gotten beyond Dulles's timidity.

Or perhaps we should call not on politics but the movies for a working metaphor:


  1. It is kind of boring, the same thing every year now.

    In lack of better achievements to show, all your Congress can do is to give circus to the media. Then in the final minutes before all these artificial deadlines expire, everything is solved. Really, how can the Americans still fall for such obvious plot?

  2. There has been only one actual shutdown, in 1996. That's the one I'm betting my money on.

    The Washington Post printed a list of 17 "shutdowns," which were not shutdowns but glitches in the procedure of legislation. The Tea Party morons read the headlines but could not comprehend the report and are now running around saying, see, we have had 17 shutdowns and nothing happened.

    Americans are so contented with our excellent government that they see no need to get bent out of shape when or or another part of it seems not to be functioning perfectly. They don't riot in the streets when the price of gasoline goes up, compared to (to take a current example) Sudan.

    They did not get bent out of shape when the credit rating was downgraded because, really, who cared?

    But while I do not expect riots, I do expect really bad outcomes from allowing the Republicans to act out their childish ideological fantasies, and I also expect that voters will, once the pinch is felt, pay attention.

    Long ago, RtO pointed out that once you solve slavery, interstate commerce, starvation in the streets and similar big issues, watching government govern becomes somewhat boring. That is why I enjoy the Palin-Bachmann-Gohmert wing of government. They are not boring. Who wants to watch Tom Harkin govern?


  3. Harry wrote: "...but he wasn't crazy enough to actually take his country over the brink..."

    What you have to remember, that as far as many of us are concerned, the country is already over the brink - we'd just be bringing the rest of you down with us. We feel we have nothing whatsoever to lose.

  4. I understand you feel that way, but it's a delusion. There are worse things than having health insurance. There are even worse things than standing by watching while other people get health insurance.

  5. Well, at least this time they did fulfill the threat - the circus just got more interesting.

    Now the real fun starts if they do the same for the debt ceiling.

  6. I was counting on them. Now would be a good time to read or re-read Hoffer's "The True Believer."

  7. It's like saying that the wolves are well cared for at the zoo and wondering why they die in captivity.

  8. Or not dying. I also understand that you believe every American gets health care now, before the ACA. If you worked at a pawnshop, you would not think that.

  9. Or not dying. I also understand that you believe every American gets health care now, before the ACA. If you worked at a pawnshop, you would not think that.