Saturday, July 16, 2011

Defaults and Da Faults

Over the last several weeks, it's been sobering to see just as many people in office (or seeking office) as in the far right blogosphere who are openly advocating for Congressional Republicans to avoid raising the debt ceiling and, by extension, advocating for the catastrophic default that will contrail in its wake. In their formulation, any deal Republicans reach with the president -- who at various points they've labeled un-American, a Socialist, a terrorist, a you-name-it -- is immediately rendered "impure" thanks to the ideological litmus tests they now function under. Thus, rather than agree to something that most serious people understand needs to be done, they refuse on principle to give the other side what it wants -- even though they want it too. This is comic book villain stuff, folks.

Now, I've taken grief sometimes for coming across as an Obama apologist (which I don't think I am, by the way, having given the guy plenty of grief during his tenure), but I've been pretty impressed this week with how he's handled himself during the debt limit negotiations, managing to appear accommodating while still standing firm on certain key principles. In the process, he's exposed the illogical implacability of the GOP's Tea Party faction for most to see (culminating in a press avail held by Reps. King, Gohmert, and Bachmann -- truly the Three Tenors of Tea Party stupidity -- in which they claimed with the absolute assurance that can only come from absolute cluelessness that even if the limit isn't increased, no default danger is imminent).

Still, thanks to the shenanigans of Eric Cantor and his faux-tough guy posturing that ended in a he-said/he-said scenario where the president either "stormed out" of a meeting or, y'know, ended the meeting, an end to this negotiations isn't any closer now than a week ago, and indeed it may have receded even further into the distance. Despite that, my gut tells me that, when all is said and done, the debt limit will be raised, because even the Republican leadership (Cantor notwithstanding) realize what a gut-punch to the economy this would be. They're just trying to figure out is how to get as little egg on their face as possible when the inevitable deal is inevitably reached. Still, for those of you who still doubt the domino effect a potential default could have, The Washington Post's Ezra Klein lays it out all out in stark detail.

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