Friday, July 29, 2011

Debt-ceiling fight shows that reality matters

Robert Kuttner, The Joys of Fanaticism The American Prospect Online 07/29/2011:

The events of this month suggest that we are living through a momentous and needless catastrophe in the making. With the economy already very fragile, the Republicans are willing to push it off a cliff, and a weak Democratic president seems unable or unwilling to stop them.

As I've suggested in an earlier piece, what comes to mind is World War I, with the mutual miscalculations and bluffing games that led to a calamitous war that nobody wanted.

It is also truly chilling to watch one of America's two parties increasingly dwell in a parallel universe, where facts don't matter, and a kind of carnival atmosphere of let-it-burn prevails.
Joan McCarter has this to say on the impasse of Friday morning (Reid: 'It's really time that they legislate' in the House Daily Kos 07/29/2011):

To use the analogy of the "grown up in the room," somebody needs to take control of the pre-school that's taken over the House.

The grown-up in the room right now should say "enough," and put the 14th amendment on the table, take everything else off.
Sounds right to me.

The recklessness of the Republican Wrecker Party is the main problem. But Barack Obama is President of the United States and he is doing a very poor job in exerting his leadership as the leader of a democracy facing a authoritarian wrecker Party like today's Republicans. Robert Reich states it well in The Empty Bully Pulpit 07/27/2011:

How did we get into this mess?

I thought I’d seen Washington at its worst. I was there just after Watergate. I was there when Jimmy Carter imploded. I was there during the government shut-down of 1995.

But I hadn't seen the worst. This is the worst.

How can it be that with over 9 percent unemployment, essentially no job growth, widening inequality, falling real wages, and an economy that’s almost dead in the water — we’re locked in a battle over how to cut the budget deficit?

Part of the answer is a Republican Party that’s the most irresponsible and rigidly ideological I’ve ever witnessed.

Part of the answer is the continuing gravitational pull of the Great Recession.

But another part of the answer lies with the President — and his inability or unwillingness to use the bully pulpit to tell Americans the truth, and mobilize them for what must be done. [my emphasis]
If the Democratic Party hadn't crippled itself in various ways, senior leaders of the Party would be meeting with Obama about now and tell him that he either needs to take a clear stand that he will use his 14th Amendment powers to protect the 14th Amendment obligation to meet the financial commitments of the US government, or to announce that he isn't running for a second term while he pursues this train wreck of an approach on his own. But that would only be effective if there were a credible threat within the Democratic Party of a strong primary challenge to him. And there's not: another way the Democratic Party has inflicted severe damage on itself.

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"It is the logic of our times
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