Assessing the nonsensical

    Perhaps the most renowned satirists of western civilization – folks like Lewis Carroll, Jonathan Swift, and Joseph Heller – could put the debt crisis farce into its proper perspective, but we horrified mortals can only fumble to make rational sense of what now passes for governance in tea party-infested America.So, an assessment of where things stand (or fall):Last night, the Republican House speaker, John Boehner, humiliated himself by demonstrating that he was incapable of rounding up sufficient votes, from among his own Republican members, for a proposed deficit-cutting deal that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised in two increments, a deal that was meaningless in the first place because it would never pass the Democratic Senate anyway, unless the Senate had passed it with amendments that would never have passed muster on its return to the House, where there would have been a mass revolt by the tea-party conservatives who oppose raising the debt ceiling in the first place, because they think it’s no big deal if the United States can no longer pay its bills when we hit the ceiling next week……very deep breath……even though such a default would of course be a big deal, because if the government no longer has the authority to pay its bills, investors who normally buy government bonds will shop elsewhere, instead buying bonds from, say, Mexico or China, thereby weakening the United States, which is perversely amusing, given the fact that the conservative ideologues who fomented this needless crisis (by refusing to routinely OK a debt ceiling increase) are always prattling on about “American exceptionalism,” about how we are Number One just because of who we are, yet now here we are on the precipice of secondary status, thanks to them……deep breath…which is downright weird, because the ideologues seem to forget (or, in the case of the zealous freshmen newbies, clearly lack even the remotest clue) that the Republicans on Capitol Hill raised the nation’s borrowing authority seven times under George W. Bush and 18 times under Ronald Reagan, even though both those presidents were racking up massive red ink at the time, and in fact (according to the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget, and at least three other agencies) the biggest debt culprit of the past 30 years was indeed Bush (who’s responsible for 42 percent of the current $14.3 trillion debt), and yet somehow raising the debt ceiling is now deemed abhorrent when proposed by a guy with an unAmerican-sounding name,…wheezing breath……who seems to be hoping, in the aftermath of Boehner’s embarrassment, that Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell can save the day on the Senate side, perhaps with some sort of deal in which there would be only one vote to raise the debt ceiling rather than two, and that vote would be contingent on the passage of, say, $2.2 trillion in spending cuts and savings, while creating some new committee that would recommend a broader deficit-reduction package, along with various “trigger mechanisms” of some sort – assuming that any of this could even get through the House as the clock ticks toward midnight, maybe with enough Democratic votes trumping the conservative naysayers whose heads will explode, but meanwhile all these cuts will just take money out of the economy, further weakening it, at a time when everybody in America is craving for job creation, an issue that nobody is talking about, not even Obama, who has already surrendered to the Republicans’ priorities and to the Republicans’ hostage-taking, and indeed this has been a hostage-taking situation, because raising the debt ceiling (allowing the government to pay its bills on programs already enacted) is one issue, whereas the future fiscal path of America is a separate matter, and yet the government-hating Republicans have been holding the former hostage to the latter……so I think that clarifies things, yes? Or maybe it’s futile to make sense of the nonsensical. Maybe, at this point, it all sounds something like this:Twas brillig, and the slithy tovesDid gyre and gimble in the wabe;All mimsy were the borogoves,And the mome raths outgrabe.So wrote Lewis Carroll in 1872. Sounds to me like he nailed it.——-I talked about this stuff on WHYY’s “Radio Times” this morning, joined on the hour-long show by political scholar and ex-Clinton aide William Galston. It’s already archived for your listening pleasure.

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