• Dan_in_DE

    Am I insane to think that the D’s bear some of the responsibility for the incredibly damaging optics of this debt ceiling fiasco?

    Bear with me for a moment please, while I set up this argument.

    As I understand it, the debt ceiling has nearly always been raised at the very last minute, with a single-sentence bill. A little grandstandery notwithstanding, up until now it’s been taken for granted that it must be passed. The consequences are unthinkable. If opposition votes are needed, then enough are identified and secured so that the rest can vote as they please. It seems to me that it still is possible that, come Monday night it will be passed as ever, as a clean bill at the last minute.

    But at this point it won’t matter if in the end enough R’s do the right thing and vote to pass a clean bill, because the damage has been done. An international spotlight has been shone on the Tea Party-Republican government in our House of Rep’s, and the US’ credibility as having a normal functioning democracy with serious leaders has been obliterated.

    There are two forces at play creating out of this situation a media spectacle of gi-normous proportions. Well, there are two forces aside from the media’s own inclination, ever since the WWF-main-event spectacle of the 2008 election bloodbath, to artificially hype the horse-race Washington politics for ratings. It’s a last ditch ploy for viewership in the age of the internet, and in lieu of any other notable competence within the info-tainment industry that teevee news has become. But I digress. There are two aspects of the debt-ceiling as a story that lend it so conveniently to a voracious and antsy news media that is otherwise inept at informing its public of current events, and is grasping at straws to find a suspenseful political story – any good Washington horse-race story – that it can exaggerate and distort. The first reason is clear. It’s that the Tea Party caucus is truly batshit insane, and can’t be trusted to act as normal, reasonable stewards of government. But it’s also because Democrats and the Progressive Left, particularly those of the PL in the above mentioned news media, consider it advantageous and are quite eager to highlight this craziness and expose their opponents as unserious.

    Obviously, it’s not the Progressives’ fault that the Tea Party is unserious and unhinged, having drunk the Reaganomical kool-aid, and dead set on getting the black man out of the White House. But, aren’t the Progressives primarily at fault for having built this particular media circus? Just watch Lawrence O’Donnell on any given night, crowing about how he saw this coming, and has been reporting on the idiot Tea Party’s plan to shut down the government from day one. Isn’t this a little bit of self-fulfilling prophesy with regards to the debt ceiling? O’Donnell says himself that the Tea Party Caucus Rep’s didn’t even know what the debt ceiling was 2 months ago. And was it not the handwringing about this from the left that brought it onto their radars as a potential means to shut down the government?

    I think that this debt-ceiling fiasco is in part a Frankenstein of the Dem’s own creation, because I’m all but certain that if the adults had treated it as a formality and a non-issue, and just let the Aug. 2 deadline come without all the ballyhoo, then it would have passed. And if not, there would have been no chance for the R’s to muddy the issue and shift some of the fault to President Obama. It would have been 100% clearly an invented crisis, ginned up by crazy Republicans. This would all be hoisted on a puzzled electorate, and the Democrats would be running out to the nearest video camera to say, “look, we warned you. We told you the hypocrite R’s want but one thing, and that’s to take away your SS and Medicare checks!” And all this would occur, as in the 90s without having caused the rating agencies and the entire international financial world to spend weeks talking about the credit worthiness of the United States.

    Just sayin.

    I know that the Tea Party would have been searching for ways to impose draconian austerity one way or another, and they would be salivating at the thought of shutting down the government. But this particular opportunity was handed to them on a silver platter. And it was handed to them with months notice to try and spin it into something other than an invented crisis with the worst possible timing.

    • jjasonham

      I can’t agree with you here because we’ve seen that the GOP is hell bent on doing what they want, and they clearly justify any of their means. The only alternative would be for every Democrat to avoid saying anything to clarify their positions. That includes mentioning any of their goals, pointing out or criticizing the other side’s actions, etc. This solution helps no one, AT ALL. The GOP is worse than a gas flame; even a lack of oxygen won’t put them out. The only solution for the Dems is to keep doing what they need to (what the public wants) while the GOP burns itself into oblivion.

      • Dan_in_DE

        I couldn’t agree with you more. The Dem’s need to clarify their goals – more importantly they need to highlight their differences with the GOP, and call out the Tea Party insanity as often as possible. Many would disagree with us here, BTW.

        What I’m saying here is that the Dem’s could and should have followed Obama’s lead and played this cool, and answered any media prying with, “hey, no one is crazy enough to want the US to default on its debt obligations!” Instead there were far too many repeating, “hey, look how idiotic the R’s have become! They’re such dumb-stupids that they to want the US to default!”

        In this one instance, people should have tiptoed around the potential and probably stupidity of the Tea Party caucus, and ignored this issue – the same way that it’s been taken for granted up til now. And when the day came around to vote, we’d be saying, “you’re not so unhinged as to wish for default, are you?” Instead of staring down the barrel of a months-old stalemate, that we started publicizing. I’m saying we’re partly responsible for letting the debt ceiling cat out of it’s proverbial bag too early, and giving them two months time to twist reality on this one.

        • jjasonham

          I don’t really think many people here would disagree with us on what the Democrats need to be doing. Obama has to keep himself above the partisan activity, because he is a central figure. The legislature doesn’t necessarily need to do that. In fact, they shy away from what we could call sensible actions in order to seem non-partisan. However, the good faith of the GOP is non existant, which actually forces everyone’s hand.

          Don’t forget that this is a two way street. The GOP/Tea Party was proudly proclaiming that it wanted to keep from raising the debt ceiling in order to adhere to their austerity ideology. It wasn’t like it was some hidden agenda that wasn’t already getting press from the moment it was hinted. At that point, it’s the media that takes over the spin of the issue at hand. Any perceived ignorance on the part of Democrats would have only made them look incompetent while it was running through the 24/7 news cycle. Quite frankly, I think you’re giving at least the Tea Party too much brain power. Could you provide a specific example of the Democrats initiating the discussion on the debt ceiling instead of a reaction?

          • Dan_in_DE

            My viewpoint on the development of this debt-ceiling discussion is admittedly narrow – since I live in Germany, and therefore see only the American news that I chose to stream on my PC – mainly the fake news on Comedy Central, and the Rachel Maddow. But I have also noticed, as I mentioned, O’Donnel on MsNBC crowing about having called this debt-ceiling fiasco. He apparently started predicting it even before the 2010 elections.

          • jjasonham

            Ok I see. O’Donnell did mention this at the 2010 elections, but it’s only because of the tone of the elections. Austerity measures were already a major issue, and the newly empowered Tea Party was going to use that issue in every single aspect of their governing. That was an absolute given. I don’t think O’Donnell’s mentioning it was going to do anything to change their one track. I certainly don’t think the TP got the idea from him, nor would they have changed their goals even if they pulled themselves away from Faux News long enough to see it. That’s why there aren’t any actions (other than blocking bills) that the Dems could have done to remove intensity from this debate. It’s intense because the Tea Party only has one gear.

          • Dan_in_DE

            And I know that this fits perfectly well into the R’s carefully cultivated image of persecuted samaritans – well meaning but always smeared by those unscrupulous D’s – but it really has looked as if the progressives have used this as a stick to hit them over the heads with. Their ignorance of the gravity of this situation has purposely been played up, right?

            Trust me, I am definitely not giving them too much credit. I think that we should have treated the Tea Party Republicans like little children by ignoring their petty threats and subtly reminding them of the deadly serious gravity of the decision that they are making.

          • jjasonham

            Poll after poll shows that all Americans blame Republicans for what is happening right now. This needs to be used to beat them over the heads because the ignorance of their actions is shameful. Congressional Dems are always the absolute LAST to beat people over the heads with the truth stick, and America is already ahead of both parties in their assessment of the situation.

            I am almost positive congressional Dems would love nothing more than to ignore the petty threats from the GOP. Two things stop them from doing that: The media validates those petty threats by blasting them everywhere; the GOP is a huge part of the legislative branch…they have to work with them.

  • MarshallLucky

    The damage has been done; the only question that remains is how far it will spread. The reputation and credibility of the American political system, both in the eyes of its citizens and those watching in horror abroad, has now been destroyed. It’s not just disfunctional, it’s openly self-destructive.

    I am so deeply ashamed of my country right now that I feel like crying. But no tears will come.

  • muselet

    From this week’s “Wait Wait … Don’t Tell Me”:

    PETER SAGAL: I mean this sincerely, it is an exciting time to be alive. How often do you get to witness history? It’s once in a generation when a generation ruins everything for the next generation. Some day, you’ll say to your grandkids, “Yes, I was there when the United States defaulted. Now, don’t bogart that last can of dog food, sonny!”
    ROY BLOUNT JR.: I think, you know, that we’ll probably celebrate this week every year as National Stupid Week.
    PETER SAGAL: Really.
    KYRIE O’CONNOR: Well, don’t you, don’t you just wish these people had mothers?
    PETER SAGAL: I assume you believe they had mothers at one point. They’re just simply …
    KYRIE O’CONNOR: I’m not entirely sure, but I think someone should send them to their room with no electronics.
    PETER SAGAL: I think so.
    ROY BLOUNT JR.: I don’t know how you get—you know, John Boehner trying to get votes from the Tea Party guys, if all they believe in is cutting, what do you—you can’t give them fat, you can’t give them pork. The only way I can figure is, you go to a Tea Party guy and say, “Do you have a particular program we could cut out that would hurt somebody you hate?”

    Do I laugh or cry? Laugh or cry?


    • You silly man! You do both! Of course you have to then drink a lot more or sniff the crazy glue like the Tea Party has been and don’t forget your fitting for the straight jacket cuz after this I suspect there will be a run on them by liberals all over the U.S.

      • muselet


        • I chewed through my restraints yesterday but that just forced them to get out the duct tape. 🙂

  • incredulous72

    Same thing they’ve been doing for the past 6 months . . .

    absolutely nothing.

  • Right now?

    No one knows right now???