Sunday, September 29, 2013

Two incredible commentaries about the GOP shutdown fiasco

If you haven't read these, you should.  Even if you're a Republican that agrees with what your representatives are doing to make Congress a travesty of what the Constitution writers envisioned.

Has the GOP leadership become delusional?
This increasing lack of connection to political reality may result in part from classic denial. They are unwilling to accept that their extremist ideological views are massively unpopular with an increasingly progressive electorate.

Last election they simply refused to believe that all of those Hispanics, African Americans, women and young people would come to the polls. Even their pollsters refused to believe that the electorate was changing. They were actually stunned that they lost.

The Tea Party Republicans appear to have abandoned hope that they can achieve their goals through the established -- democratic -- political process. After all, virtually all of their demands are extremely unpopular with the broader electorate and they overwhelmingly lost the last election.

So they have resorted to the tactic of choice for small extremist minorities: hostage-taking. They are threatening to blow up the economy if they don't get their way. 

And that is precisely why the president and Democrats in Congress are so clear that they will not cede to GOP demands. If Democrats were to allow hostage-taking to work, GOP extremists would try the same tactic again and again. There would be no end to the hostage-taking in order to force the majority of Americans to agree to the positions of a small minority that have been rejected in democratic elections.
Here's the second one.

The debt ceiling showdown is the fight of Obama's life, by Jonathan Chait

"If outsiders have failed to grasp the motivations of the House Republicans, puzzling at their odd redoubling of ideological fervor since November, they have likewise mistaken Obama. Everything I have seen from Obama suggests he understands that he cannot repeat his blunder of 2011, when he mistook the GOP’s debt-ceiling threat for an invitation to engage in normal fiscal bargaining.'
"Obama’s incentive structure is simple, then: Allowing Republicans to default on the debt now is better than trading something that allows them to threaten it later. His best option is to refuse to negotiate the debt ceiling and have the House raise it before October 17. His next best option is to refuse to negotiate the debt ceiling, allow default, and never have to go through it again. Bargaining merely postpones, and worsens, the next default crisis. No negotiated debt-ceiling price is small enough to be acceptable. There is therefore no circumstance under which bargaining for a debt-ceiling hike makes sense, even if the alternative is certain default.
That is a frightening reality, made all the more frightening by two additional factors. The first is that Republicans don’t believe Obama’s insistence that he won’t negotiate."

I don't think he will either.  So the Republicans are driving us toward potential disaster.

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