You will note, in this latest story of silly intra-Republican machinations and self-fluffing over all those deficits that somehow only started the day President Black Guy entered the big office with the curved walls, that the GOP has decided they have a very limited set of fiscal tools at their disposal. Basically they can pout a lot, or they can pout even more, but the entire argument over whether or not to send the United States of America into default over the "debt ceiling," screwing the economy and a very large number of our own citizens, rests entirely on the question of just how big of a knock-down, screaming, rolling-on-the-floor tantrum is the right amount in order to feel better about themselves:
GOP officials said more than half of their members are prepared to allow default unless Obama agrees to dramatic cuts he has repeatedly said he opposes. Many more members, including some party leaders, are prepared to shut down the government to make their point. House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”Let's just reflect, here. We're currently facing a "debt ceiling" standoff, which now coincides with a slightly delayed "fiscal cliff," which was delayed from the previous "fiscal cliff," which was a delayed reaction to the spectacularly silly "Super Committee," which was a dumbass, make-work delay of the previous "debt ceiling" fight, which was the previous version of this thing, right here, that we're doing now in which a collection of pompous but spectacularly inept/incompetent Republican nincompoops demand that we cut spending on certain people and programs in ways that the nation, and the Congress, and even most of they themgoddamnselves have all repeatedly rejected over and over but which still hold such ideological sway that screwing up a nice, fat chunk of the entire national economy seems a pretty reasonable thing to do if it will yet again "make a point" to the mean president about how they, despite not being in charge of things, should still get to be in charge of all things, or if it will at least get some of the bile surrounding their previously wounded fee-fees "out of their system."
(Continue reading below the fold.)
There is no part of that that does not make everyone involved seem like crapsacks. And mind you, this is the Republicans trying to put the best spin on things. "Member management" may require us to decapitate the nation's economy for a while. Sorry, but we've got a somewhat ambiguous, entirely ineffectual point to make!
Starting Monday, Boehner will huddle with his leadership team to discuss his preliminary thinking on a spending strategy. A source who attended meetings to prepare for those private talks said GOP leaders are authentically at a loss on how to control members who don’t respond to the normal incentives of wanting to help party leaders or of avoiding situations — like default — that could be public relations nightmares.Well sure. Effing up the whole national economy because the more illiterate members of your caucus refuse to go down for their naps would be quite the public relations boo-boo. They don't respond to people in authority or bad publicity! Whatever will we do?
Oh, right—and I guess there's that whole "devastating to the economy" business. As later explained:
Boehner’s own staff has warned conservative lawmakers that deficits will soar, as interest rates rise, the markets will tumble and the economy will face catastrophe if they truly follow through on default. They will walk members through a presentation on this scenario this week, and the hope is conservatives will conclude it would be economic and political suicide to go all in. But GOP leaders have made similar pitches before, and most House Republicans didn’t buy it.This is because a wide selection of the Republican Party is now made up of drunken hill folk. That a certain number of Republicans simply do not believe that the government not paying its bills would be that big a deal should, if you are not equally fiscally illiterate, perhaps itself be a big deal.
All right, here's the deal. Political reporters of the nation, at some point, at your convenience, I would really, really appreciate it if you would somewhere point out in your articles that this is a damn incompetent way to run a country. Here we have an article exclusively made up of Republican sources trying to make themselves look decent and principled, and the end result is to make them all look like something between sociopaths and financial terrorists.
The prospect of default—or even temporary government shutdown—is a red-letter, big deal thing that most True Constitution-Loving Patriots would definitely balk at. In general, when governing the most powerful nation in the world, doing widespread, intentional harm to it as political stunt is the sort of thing that used to be considered poor form at best. Now we can't even get that much—or, at least, we get wilting love-letters to Boehner for doing the work of maybe explaining it to his members, but he's still going along with the stunt, as are all the other supposedly "more reasonable" Republicans that maybe secretly think openly screwing with the nation is not actually the best plan anyone can think of right now.
No, the takeaway from that article seems to be that the best John Boehner might be able to do is convince his caucus to shut down the government in March, over the next budget fight, rather than in February, over the debt ceiling. They want a shutdown, and they don't particularly have anything they think a shutdown would accomplish, but it's at this point a given that every basic function of government will be held hostage to a group of financial illiterates who are upset that they have to abide by stupid elections and voting and stuff instead of being able to just demand the rest of us implement every policy they want, every month, like clockwork.
Would that be too much to point out? That give us every policy we want or the entire federal government gets it is not a competent way to run a nation?