Country First

July 18th, 2011

Erick Erickson of Red State vocalizes what Republicans have been edging around for weeks now:

Now is a time for choosing. Now is your time for choosing.As I pointed out to John Boehner yesterday, despite what the pundits in Washington are telling you, it is you and not Obama who hold most of the cards. Obama has a legacy to worry about. Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff. [sic: punctuation and spacing]

It’s not hard to see the message: Republicans should default on the debt, purposefully wreck the economy, and throw the country into a depression so that Obama will look bad and Republicans can regain power. Ironically, this after he disparages Republicans for failing to “pull us back from the brink of financial ruin,” as he put it.

You might argue that he sees the alternative as being worse–but how could certain financial ruin be better than potential financial ruin? The answer is likely that he believes if Social Security and/or Medicare are not abolished, then the country will be ruined anyway, so it is better to trash it now when a Democrat can be directly blamed.

And that’s what it has come down to for Republicans: not repairing the country, but doing what you can to see the other guy gets blamed for it.

If out-of-control spending was really what they worried about, why were they not outraged when Bush doubled the historical debt in just two terms? Republicans controlled the Congress and the Presidency when the worst of the spending was done; they were not concerned enough about overspending until barely seconds after Obama won the 2008 election, then it suddenly became an impending disaster that should be howled against–and, of course, all his fault. Why was the debt ceiling never an evil when Bush raised the debt from six billion to seven, to eight, to ten, to twelve billion dollars?

And the one time we needed to spend, to stimulate the economy so we could, potentially, drive our way out of the tailspin Republicans had thrown us into, it was Republicans who slammed on the brakes and refused to spend more than a tiny fraction of what they had already wasted, helping to stall the recovery. Like a plane diving toward doom and running out of gas, we needed to use most of what precious fuel remained to level out of the dive so we could come in for a safe landing. Instead, Republicans yanked the pilot’s foot off the gas pedal just in time to make sure we were committed to the dive, and then started shrieking about how the pilot had doomed us.

Now, they see the canyon floor coming, believe we can’t avoid a crash–and their only concern is to make sure that everyone believes it’s the other guy that people should blame for it, even if it means crashing the plane harder and faster in the process.

Or, the other explanation–they know the country might actually be saved, but they just don’t give a damn, and all talk about “pulling back from the brink” is more BS covering up their primary agenda at the moment–forever trashing the reputation of President Barack Hussein Obama.

Any way you look at it, it’s ugly.

  1. Troy
    July 18th, 2011 at 11:15 | #1

    Republicans yanked the pilot’s foot off the gas pedal

    gas pedal?

    anyhoo, this:

    “And the one time we needed to spend, to stimulate the economy so we could, potentially, drive our way out of the tailspin Republicans had thrown us into”

    is not an accurate depiction of recent events.

    Or, the other explanation–they know the country might actually be saved, but they just don’t give a damn

    I would hope intelligent, honest conservatives see the world as I do, that tax levels are simply too low to cover the government’s promises now and in the somewhat immediate future (2020).

    I wrote a post about that:

    http://patrick.net/forum/?p=891239

    If we want a $700B/yr military, $1.2T/yr social insurance, $1.6T/yr medicare in 2020, two things are going to have to happen — taxes going up and/or spending on other stuff going down.

    Not counting FICA, tax revenue now is only $1.2T! Interest on the debt alone is projected to increase $500B, to $700B+ by 2020. The projections in the CBO report linked in my post:

    http://www.cbo.gov/ftpdocs/120xx/doc12039/BudgetTables.pdf

    are IMO rather optimistic. If we don’t get a Clinton-style economy this decade, we’re going to be really behind the 8-ball, eg. CBO is predicting FICA taxes rising from $800B in 2011 to $1.4T by 2020, that’s basically a 75% expansion of payrolls. Unrealistic.

    This nation is at a cross-roads, either we start paying for our government services or we start cutting them. The battle lines are clear, but the people are retards and easily bamboozled.

    Not that Japan is any good at facing these realities, but at least you guys are running a trade surplus and are just borrowing the money from each other.

    up their primary agenda at the moment–forever trashing the reputation of President Barack Hussein Obama

    This goes beyond personalities, the aim here is to finally execute upon the Bircher and Goldwater desire to roll back the redistribution of the New Deal and Great Society.

    They can’t do this without being in a financial catastrophe, so they are creating the catastrophe.

    I would like to think me bugging out to Japan again is a viable escape, but dunno.

  2. Troy
    July 18th, 2011 at 11:20 | #2

    oops, my above:

    “is not an accurate depiction of recent events.” was supposed to be followed by the analysis that it was the collapse of the housing bubble that killed the economy, and the housing bubble was just people being people, i.e. idiots, borrowing as much as they were allowed to.

    The Bush administration failed here, but it was a subtle failure of allowing the system to simply go out of control, much like it did during the S&L crisis days, but nationally, and much much worse thanks to disregulation of many more mortgage industry players.

    2002-2007 was a very good lesson that free markets do not work, but you’ll never get the professional liars of the right to admit that. The Republicans put AEI’s Wallison on the financial collapse commission, and his dissent was 100% bullshit. (The other Republican-appointed members did a reasonably good job of not agreeing to blame Republicans but otherwise agree with the majority).

    Walllison’s title at AEI, btw, was chief of Financial Deregulation Project:

    http://www.ritholtz.com/blog/2010/12/aei-scrubbing-wallisons-fin-dereg-project/

  3. Tim Kane
    July 18th, 2011 at 11:33 | #3

    Erick Erickson is a nut job that will drive you dizzy if you try to keep up with his arcane logic. He knows all the arguments and how to throw them sift and furious, even if they are dichotomous. It matters not.

    I have friends who tell me that the Republicans are sincere in their ideological beliefs. I find this hard to fathom. But then, I realized, just as they project ideology on to me, I was projecting pragmatism (common sense) on to them and therefore found their positions unbelievable.

    Then I slowly came around to accepting that they really believed their ideology. Then I started to wrap my mind around the ideologies they embrace, and it is a truly frightening thing.

    But as I’ve stated before: all ideologies lead to the same end: nihilism. That’s where the old saying “we had to destroy the village in order to save the village.”

    If you saw the fantastic HBO movie on the collapse of 2008, “To Big To Fail” you see where Hank Paulson is forced to see where his adherence to ideology lead him up to the point where he brushed up against nihilism, with the rest of the world’s economy on his back.

    It does that with everyone and everybody. Nations included.

    Soviet Russia had four nihilistic episodes in less than 30 years from 1916 forward.

    Germany was driven into ruins, conquered and divided up by its enemies within 12 years of attaching its star to an ideology.

    In the case of Republicans, they embrace a radical ideology that embraces the nihilism that comes with ideology: that of Ayn Rand. (Actually their ideology is a fusion of Ayn Rand and Leo Stauss – they are complementary to each other, both descend intellectually from Nietzsche and the concept of men and supermen (hint: the supermen are the ones running the Republican party).

    In one of Ayn Rand’s books, “The Fountainhead” the protagonist/hero, rapes a main character, (but he gets to because he’s a superman and in Rand’s view, supermen do what they want, make their own reality, etc…) and then goes on to burn down a village he had a hand in designing, out of spite, no less, because they didn’t follow his design down to the last detail. That hero/raper was played by Gary Cooper in a movie version. The rapee was played by Patricia Neal.

    All these guys see themselves as Gary Cooper. They see themselves on a different, superior, higher plane than the rest of us and thanks to Rand, see compromise as a vice. They see burning the village down as virtue. They are itching to do it.

    These people are certifiably insane. They are a danger to themselves, let alone the society they so eagerly want to drive into the ground.

    Erickson is kidding himself if he thinks Obama will get credit for the collapse of not passing a debt ceiling. Obama has bent over backwards and handed them more than they ever dreamed of. Obama doesn’t get to pass the budget. He only gets to sign it or veto it. The republicans can pass any bill they want – out of desperation the senate might sign off on it, but they haven’t passed a one. They were given the majority because they were going to create jobs, jobs, jobs. They haven’t done squat.

    It is taking society a long time to figure out just what dangerous insanity the Republican party is these days. Some of that is because of Rupert Murdock. Perhaps the collapse of his business will allow a ray of sunlight to get into the minds of more of the public.

  4. Troy
    July 18th, 2011 at 13:04 | #4

    A whole ‘nother dimension to Republican craziness is their capture/creation of the religious right. Erickson is also a conservative religious nutball, and the religious right does in fact subscribe to the belief and harbor the desire that current society be purged and cleansed of godlessness and liberalism.

    The Tea Party was originally more purer tinfoil when starting out, but the religious crank overlap was already there.

    This nation is essentially mentally ill I guess.

  5. Troy
    July 19th, 2011 at 08:56 | #5

    20% of this country changed their mind about the debt limit recently.

    “Support for increasing the debt ceiling has risen 22 points from last month, from 24 percent to 46 percent. Opposition has fallen 20 points in that period, from 69 percent to 49 percent. (See graphic at left.)

    “The poll found that the more one follows the debt ceiling debate, the more likely he or she is to support an increase: 51 percent of those who are following the debate very closely think the debt ceiling should be raised, compared to just 29 percent of those who are not following it closely.

    “The shift toward more support for an increase can be seen across the political spectrum. Last month, 54 percent of Democrats opposed raising the debt ceiling. Now 61 percent support increasing it. And while a majority of Republicans and independents oppose an increase, it’s by a narrower margin than last month. Thirty-three percent of Republicans now say the debt ceiling should be raised, up from 16 percent last month; 40 percent of independents say it should be raised, up from 21 percent last month.”

    Nation of morons. Well, 49% of us.

  6. Luis
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:02 | #6

    Nation of morons. Well, 49% of us.
    If I look at it honestly, I have to say, before “morons,” it is “lazy and uninformed.” Which could very well be equal to being a moron. But this is the operative sentence:
    “The poll found that the more one follows the debt ceiling debate, the more likely he or she is to support an increase.”
    Generalized, that should read, “the more the public hears about and understands the facts surrounding an issue, the more they agree with the rational point of view.” I recall this being true with the ACA–ask people their opinion about the whole thing, they reacted negatively; ask them about each feature specifically–features which, in all likelihood, they were mostly unaware of–then they react positively.

    Americans react the wrong way because they are, for the most part, unaware of what they are reacting to. They hear names and labels and make their judgments based on those alone, colored by the rhetoric of those they tend to trust.

    This is where (1) a good educational system, (2) a national sense of civic duty, and (3) a responsible press would do far more good for us as a nation than perhaps almost anything else–a majority of the people educated enough to learn and discern fact from bullshit, caring enough to look into issues important to the civic body, and getting clear and accurate information allowing them to do so.

    A pity we don’t live in such a country.

    This is where my conspiracy-theory-level ideas kick in–that conservatives favor cutting education and attacking educators, instilling the people with a sense of faith and ideology which lessens their tendency to think independently, and have worked assiduously to buy out and subvert the national media. But I am sure that I am just being paranoid in moments where I see that, and it is all just a big coincidence.

  7. Troy
    July 19th, 2011 at 10:16 | #7

    No, such things as conservapedia tell us that the conservatives want to remain inside their epistemological enclosure.

    http://www.tnr.com/blog/jonathan-chait/the-right-and-epistemic-closure

  8. Luis
    July 19th, 2011 at 11:03 | #8

    Well, that in large part is the “instilling the people with a sense of faith and ideology which lessens their tendency to think independently” that I wrote about.

    I think that when the rank and file are introduced to fact, they are more likely (but by no means guaranteed) to break with the party line and agree to reasonable stuff-as we are seeing more and more with the conservative masses being willing to take tax hikes for the wealthy and to raise the debt ceiling, for example.

    There will always be an immovable core–these are the true morons, or perhaps more accurately, the robots acting wholly on orders sent from the party.

    This is also where good education and critical thinking skills work against conservatives, again making me believe they want to sabotage the education system–”facts have a well-known liberal bias,” as Colbert pointed out.

    I remember one church marquee which summed it all up:

    Reason01

    This applies to the party faithful just as well. Reason threatens authority.

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