09 October 2013

Here they go again.

What could go wrong?
Just after the presidential election - the one where all the opinion polls consistently showed President Obama winning and wound up being right - I wrote a post about how the Republican Party is suffering from homophily.  When people of the same stripe isolate themselves, and refuse to acknowledge other opinions or even facts that contradict their priorities or world view, they tend to adopt increasingly extreme positions and interpret reality in a way that doesn't reflect reality. That's why conservatives were shocked that they lost the election then, and why they embrace extreme positions like shutting down the government and defaulting on America's debt now. They even say a default won't hurt. (It will.)

It's more than Dick Morris' ridiculous assertion that Governor Romney was "gonna win by a landslide" because all the polls said President Obama would win. All the conservative pundits got it wrong.

But the best example of conservatives heading to oblivion right now is Erick Erickson. Remember Erickson joked that Obama was a lock once Morris made his prediction. But he took a look at the same polls and made his prediction in November:
I believe Mitt Romney will win Florida, Virginia, and Colorado... I honestly change my mind hourly on Ohio, but my best guess is that Romney wins Ohio and consequently wins the Presidency...
If you take a polling average in Ohio, the President is three points ahead. Republicans tend to do two points better in Ohio than the polling and Democrats tend to do one point worse than the polling. That puts Ohio tied and I think passion for Romney makes up that gap...
I’ve never seen the Republican base more fired up.
So Erickson looked at the polls, all saying President Obama was winning in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Ohio, and predicted Romney victories in Florida, Virginia, Colorado, and Ohio.

Because of passion.

For Governor Romney.

Now Erickson has looked at poll after poll saying the American people know Republicans are to blame for the latest shutdown of the government.  He sees the polls that show significant drops in support for his party.  He sees the guys at Princeton who accurately predicted the last election say if America voted today, Democrats would easily take back the House of Representatives.  And you can guess what he says:
Polling shows more Americans blame the GOP than Barack Obama. I think this means the GOP is winning. You’ll need to let me explain.
No, I really won't.

Shutting the government down doesn't just mean we can't go hiking at Yellowstone this week, as much as that sucks.  It means we aren't inspecting food imports or preventing outbreaks of food-borne illnesses.  We're not researching cancer cures.  We're not paying survivor benefits to those who just lost a loved one in Afghanistan. We're not paying thousands upon thousands of people, public and private sector, who are just trying to do their jobs.

Defaulting on America's debt is more than just telling the rest of the world our word isn't good anymore. It adds the one thing today's global financial system simply cannot withstand - a huge, steaming pile of uncertainty.

If politicians can't agree on an annual budget, a "clean," temporary continuing budget resolution has always been the non-controversial, even perfunctory fix. Essentially it says keep things going until we strike an agreement.  When the government needs to sell bonds to meet its cash obligations, raising our agreed-upon debt limits has also been a non-controversial, even perfunctory fix.  People in both parties have voted against both fixes to make a political statement, but never to actually stop either from happening.  They then get to their real work - a budget resolution and a series of appropriations bills. We've actually made progress on both - under this President, the national budget deficit has shrunk dramatically.

The Speaker of the House of Representatives has now equated a functioning government and a stable global financial system as "unconditional surrender" for his political party.  Seriously - if the economy wins, he thinks he loses.

He really needs to get out more.

Another thought.  Today I think about those people in the job I had over a decade ago - Congressional staffer. The younger ones tend to live paycheck to paycheck, like many Americans. A lot of them are being furloughed right now, dealing with any number of financial issues.  They're looking at the "clean" continuing budget resolution the Senate passed with bipartisan support - the one that would give them job stability for at least a little while.  And they're looking at the news reports that say it would pass the House.

Then they're looking at the one guy who won't let the House vote on it under any circumstances.  For some of them he's the boss.  For others he's the head of their political party.  And now he's saying that their job stability, however temporary, is his "unconditional surrender."

I wonder when some of them will start talking to reporters.

Payback's a bitch, Mr. Speaker.

1 comment:

Mukta Bakshi said...


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