Monday, August 01, 2011
It's All Downhill from Here
Salon's Andrew Leonard sums up the only exculpatory spin that can be put on the shit sandwich America is very likely about to be forced to swallow whole:
"If one wished to give the president the benefit of the doubt, one could argue that maybe there was nothing he could have done to get a better deal. House Republicans were willing to push the nation into default -- and that's a scenario no sane leader could responsibly endorse. Obama couldn't credibly threaten a veto of any legislation that would reach his desk because Obama ultimately would not and could not voluntarily choose to default on the nation's obligations. Obama had to choose between an awful deal or an outright catastrophe. There's no way to come out of that jam smelling of roses.
But he didn't need to try to sell this resolution as some sort of 'compromise.' The president said it was not "the deal I would have preferred." He should have been stronger. He should have said it's a bad deal that does not address the pressing needs of the nation, and sets in stone cuts in entitlements that will savage an aging population faced by spiraling health care costs. And then he should have acknowledged that he still had to sign it, because the alternative would have ensured a nearly immediate slide into recession and the strong possibility of a global financial shock."
That's about all there is to it. I realize that both sides of the political aisle aren't at all happy with this deal and maybe it could be argued that that's one of the best things you can say about it. Unfortunately, if nobody's happy then that generally means it's a crappy deal, and while I know there are those on the opposite side of the fence who claim differently, they're full of it: the Republicans got almost everything they wanted. The Tea Party put a gun to the head of the entire country and turned what should have been a simple political procedure into an effort to bury us all under a big, heaping pile of its ass-backward dogma -- and that it did. What was one of the most embarrassing episodes for this country in its short but celebrated history has just morphed into an almost unimaginably devastating sucker punch to the American psyche. Thanks to a misguided embrace of austerity in the middle of an economic crisis, we'll no longer enjoy the inviolable powerhouse status we've had as a nation for decades into centuries. We're now no better than the European countries our twisted and treacherous Republican leaders so casually condescend to as part of the prerogative supposedly granted to us by "American exceptionalism."
The world is laughing at us right now -- and maybe it should be.
And we just learned an important lesson that we've, ironically, never really been able to admit to ourselves: terrorism is nearly impossible to defeat because it works. Welcome to the new era of Hostage Politics in this country.