Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
An interesting perspective from Greg Sargent on the Tea-Publican economic terrorists' hostage demands and threat to destroy the American, and world economies, if they don't get their ransom: Washington’s ‘Blazing Saddles’ moment:
Walter Dellinger, the former solicitor general under Bill Clinton, emails me his take on why [the debt ceiling is not Obama’s problem, but Congress’ problem] is true on the substance, never mind the politics. It’s a good one:
I understand why the debt ceiling is a problem. What I don’t understand it why it’s Obama’s problem. The debts that will come due are the debts of the United States, not the debts of Obama family and not even the debts of the executive branch…
If the U.S. defaults on loan obligations because of failure to increase the debt ceiling, every single American would be made somewhat poorer by the dead weight loss to the American economy that this would cause. I don’t see why either political party or either branch of government should gain any leverage by threatening economic harm to the United States of America whose financial management is the mutual responsibility of each of them.
The whole thing reminds me of the great moment in “Blazing Saddles” when Sheriff Bart takes himself hostage by pointing a gun at his own head. The simple townsfolk of Rock Ridge were dumb enough to fall for it.* Are we?
Yes, apparently we are. You can read through reams of reporting about the debt ceiling and not find anything that explains the most basic facts about the situation. It is widely being reported on as a conventional Washington standoff, in which Dems want a debt ceiling hike, Republicans want spending cuts, and we’re now going to see a game of chicken in which the two will meet somewhere in the middle.
This bears no relationship to the reality of the situation, in which Republicans are pretending that in refusing to hike the debt ceiling, they are withholding a concession for which they should ultimately be rewarded. In reality they are demanding that Dems give them something in exchange for agreeing not to do immense damage to the whole country. As Dellinger’s email neatly demonstrates, the situation is profoundly absurd and unbalanced — yet this is completely lost in the business-as-usual coverage.
* * *
As Dellinger notes, this is no way to govern a country. I’m still not sure whether — or how — the White House will manage to stick to [its] approach throughout, but let’s hope so: If Republicans want to force a choice between gutting popular entitlements and destroying the economy, let them sink under it. This is their problem.
* For those of you unfamiliar with this comedy classic, here is the scene from Blazing Saddles (1974):
[the Johnsons load their guns and point them at Bart. Bart then points his own pistol at his head]
Bart: [low voice] Hold it! Next man makes a move, the nigger gets it!
Olson Johnson: Hold it, men. He's not bluffing.
Dr. Sam Johnson: Listen to him, men. He's just crazy enough to do it!
Bart: [low voice] Drop it! Or I swear I'll blow this nigger's head all over this town!
Bart: [high-pitched voice] Oh, lo'dy, lo'd, he's desp'it! Do what he sayyyy, do what he sayyyy!
[Townspeople drop their guns. Bart jams the gun into his neck and drags himself through the crowd towards the station]
Harriet Johnson: Isn't anybody going to help that poor man?
Dr. Sam Johnson: Hush, Harriet! That's a sure way to get him killed!
Bart: [high-pitched voice] Oooh! He'p me, he'p me! Somebody he'p me! He'p me! He'p me! He'p me!
Bart: [low voice] Shut up!
[Bart places his hand over his own mouth, then drags himself through the door into his office]
Bart: Ooh, baby, you are so talented!
[looks into the camera]
Bart: And they are so dumb!