Sunday, July 31, 2011

Dowd on Debt and Doom

The "debt ceiling" crisis is a self-inflicted wound for the US. Here's a bit from a Maureen Dowd NY Times op-ed showing how crazy it is:
The world is watching in fearful — and sometimes gleeful — fascination as the Tea Party drives a Thunderbird off the cliff with the president and speaker of the House strapped in the back. The Dow is hiding under the bed with a glass of single malt. Can it get more excruciating? Apple has more cash than the U.S. government.

Amid the chilling anarchy, there’s not a single strong leader to be seen — not even a misguided one. All the leaders are followers. You have to wonder if President Obama at some level doesn’t want to lead. Maybe he just wants to be loved.

The citizens of this country tremble at the thought that these are the people governing them. Should we stick our money under our mattresses? It’s not only the economy that gets nourished by confidence; it’s also politics.

The maniacal Tea Party freshmen are trying to burn down the House they were elected to serve in. It turns out they wanted to come inside to get a blueprint of the historic building to sabotage it.

Like gargoyles on the Capitol, the adamantine nihilists are determined to blow up the country’s prestige, their party and even their own re-election chances if that’s what it takes. (Many are worried about primary races with even more dogmatic challengers, which is a truly scary thought.) If they can drag President Obama off his pedestal, even better. They think he looks down on them and sneers at their values.

Democratic lawmakers worry that the Tea Party freshmen have already “neutered” the president, as one told me. They fret that Obama is an inept negotiator. They worry that he should have been out in the country selling a concrete plan, rather than once more kowtowing to Republicans and, as with the stimulus plan, health care and Libya, leading from behind.
If you want to measure how crazy US politics have become, this pretty well summarizes it:
The Gingrich revolution pulled Republicans to the right of the Reagan revolution and the Tea Party revolution pulled Republicans to the right of the Gingrich revolution. The difference, though, is existentially striking: The Reagan and Gingrich forces wanted a leaner government, but they still believed in government.


The laconic president emerges from the sidelines periodically to warn about economic default, but we’re already in political default.

Consider what the towel-snapping Tea Party crazies have already accomplished. They’ve changed the entire discussion. They’ve neutralized the White House. They’ve whipped their leadership into submission. They’ve taken taxes and revenues off the table. They’ve withered the stock and bond markets. They’ve made journalists speak to them as though they’re John Calhoun and Alexander Hamilton.

Obama and John Boehner have been completely outplayed by the “hobbits,” as The Wall Street Journal and John McCain called them.

What if this is all a cruel joke on us? What if the people who hate government are good at it and the people who love government are bad at it?
I blame Obama. He was elected to lead but he has failed and this isn't his first failure. His biggest failure was the big lie he told the electorate in 2008: "change you can believe in". He's delivered 4 more years of Bush "Republicanism". Meanwhile, the crazy Republican party has gotten even more insane. This is a race to the bottom and Obama is only slightly being outdone by the crazy Tea Party as they plunge downward.

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