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.


Warren Bishop said...

Doesn't anyone in the government remember their history? Cutting spending is exactly what Herbert Hoover did - and it made The Great Depression worse.

I voted for Obama hoping he was going to be another FDR. Instead we got another Herbert Hoover.

Ms. Jan said...

I was on the verge of tears yesterday and you put me over the edge with this one. I'm so disappointed and fear for my children and grandchildren.

Marsupialus said...

I'm strongly considering not voting in 2012. Because it's apparent that it doesn't make a bit of difference. People say it's better with the Democrats in charge? Really? The end result doesn't seem consonant with that view. Obama should have stared them down and then resorted to the 14th amendment, the Constitution trumping legislation every time. And if the courts ultimately said no, well that's months from now. And if the Republicans tried to impeach him, well every day, you have Obama saying I defended the Constitution, my sworn oath. You say, but nothing would get done. What, now, is getting done? Over 9% unemployment and we're going austerity? How's that working out for you in Greece? England? I thought Obama was the smartest guy in the room. I really don't think so now. Or he may be the smartest but he's far from the strongest. Guy doesn't really have the stomach for this stuff.

Riles said...

SO fucking frustrating.

And, how is the Right going to spin this Super Congress? They preach smaller this what they meant? A consolidation of power? Terrible, and a little terrifying.

Eric said...

Warren, the asstards in question like to call the Great Depression an adjustment that was made worse by FDR's "interference" and was only ended by WWII.

Aside from being factually incorrect, there's also the sort-of-obvious point that if these bozos were right, it would still mean that the Great Depression was ended by a massive expansion of government spending and function, with the Federal government not only spending vast fortunes on armaments, but also directly hiring millions of Americans and taking over not only their healthcare, but also providing them with room and board throughout the terms of their enlistment. So there's something inherently, logically wrong with an argument that claims, "No, it wasn't the massive government spending that ended the Great Depression, it was the massive government spending," but obviously logic isn't really any more these rocket scientists' forte than history is.

We're being governed by frickin' morons.

TheReaperD said...

I keep hoping for Obama to grow a spine but, keep getting disappointed.

Warren Bishop said...

I need to get my eyes checked - because I could SWEAR when I voted in the last election, the card read: Barack Obama Democratic Party. However Obama is clearly a Republican.

In any event, I'm definitely scheduling an appointment with my optometrist. I don't want to make that mistake again.

P.S. Eric - 'asstards' sums it up pretty nicely.

Chez said...

There are a couple of different ways of looking at it. One is that Obama staved off an idiotic rebellion that would've ended with the nation in default because the Tea Party assholes are just that crazy. There's also still the chance of tax revenue -- albeit a slim chance -- coming out of this agreement should it pass. Also, no one gets everything they want in this.

My issue is that even if Obama made the right decision -- maybe the only decision he could make -- it still feels like he caved. Now, of course Boehner has to sell this as if Obama caved, otherwise he won't get this thing passed and then he's in even deeper crap than he already is. But the fact is that measures that never should've been considered, much less forced onto us, are now very likely going to be a certainty. Austerity isn't the answer here and it never was -- and everything humanly possible to avoid going down that road should've been taken. But reality is reality. The Republicans control the House, and the Tea Party whack-jobs control the Republicans. They were and are willing to burn the entire economy to the ground to get what they want -- which by the way has much less to do with anything financial than it does with getting Obama out of office. If this whole thing continues to play in the press the same way and with the same conventional wisdom it currently is -- they may have succeeded wildly.

Ryan said...

"The world is laughing at us right now"

I wish that were true... from Canada I think we're mostly shaking our heads in a mixture of WTF? and sadness.

It's gotten so much beyond the humourous antics of GWB - now it's just pathetic.

kanye said...

The Republicans got almost everything they wanted?

That's not true.

The Republicans proposed 900 billion in cuts; no revenue increases.

Congressional Dems rejected that proposal based on lack of revenues.

Noting a lack of objections over the cuts, the Republicans offered a new proposal: 2.7 trillion in cuts; no revenue increases.

The President jumped in with his own proposal: 400 billion in revenue increases, 4 trillion in spending cuts, including Social Security and Medicare.

The Republicans jizzed themselves. Even they weren't crazy enough to go after Social Security and Medicare.

The Repulicans offered a counter-proposal: Throw out the revenue increases and you've got a deal.

Obama: Deal.

The deal was made in April.

You know how I know that? Because the deal that Obama proposed then is the deal that we got now: 2.4 trillion in cuts now, 1.5 trillion to be named later; Social Security and Medicare on the chopping block; no revenue increases.

The last three months have been nothing more than political brinksmanship in the face of the upcoming election. Theater, made necessary by the fact that these two supposed opposing parties are of the same mind on this subject, and despite all this talk of bi-partisanship and comity, they can't be seen to be in agreement, lest they chance pissing off their respective bases. (And yes, I know how much you love the word "lest".)

The President is the one who got almost everything that he wanted.

The Republicans got more than they ever could have dreamed of.