This tweet, which arrived midafternoon yesterday from the redoubtable @LOLGOP, really does say it all: “The GOP is rebranding itself from a party that accidentally blows up the world economy to one that purposely blows up the world economy.” How quaint today seem George W. Bush and his economic minions, with their endearing good intentions! We learn now from Politico that the current crop is ready to take the country, and the world, down to the gates of hell. Many of them have now passed the point of wanting to get their way. On some twisted level, they want not to get their way—to blow up the building just to see what happens.[snip]
But if somehow John Boehner folds on default and helps the president and the Senate prevent it, he may at least have to throw his rabids the bone of a government shutdown. “We might need to do that,” a GOP aide said, “for member-management purposes—so they have an endgame and can show constituents they’re fighting.”
We’ve all read plenty of cuckoo quotes from these people, but please, I implore you to read that one again. It deserves to occupy a place of honor in your memory banks. They’ll deny people Social Security and veterans’ checks for member-management purposes?
Yeah, the House Republicans would shut down the government in the name of feeding their egos. Now bear in mind we’re talking about people who seem to think the shutdowns in the 1990s were a good idea.
They’ve been wanting to force a catastrophe, really, since the day Obama was first sworn in. They can’t abide the fact that he is president, they can’t believe he beat them a second time, and they live in a world that the other two thirds of the country doesn’t live in. And yet they have the power to drag us all down to their level. One hopes not for long.
In pursuing the strategy they’re pursuing, House Republicans are going to create the situation they claim they most fear – namely they’ll crash the economy (again!) they’ll drive up interest rates, they’ll create budgetary disaster and in the long run discredit the Republican’s ideological positions. It’s one thing to respond – either well or badly – to world events. It’s another thing entirely to create a disaster just to make a point that you don’t like how the world is running.
Yesterday at Washington Monthly, Ed Kilgore had a long quote from Josh Barro:
This isn’t because Republicans are reckless, as such. Many conservatives are sincerely convinced that excessive government spending poses a dire risk to the U.S. economy, and that even if missed payments have severe negative short-term economic consequences, they will be worth it if the long-term outcome is a smaller government.
The conviction that everything is about to come apart in the U.S. if the government maintains its current economic-policy course — through tremendous inflation, a debt crisis, and/or all of the productive members of society Going Galt — animates the huge Republican resistance to anything Obama proposes, even if that’s just the government paying the bills it has already run up. They’re trying their very hardest to save the country from a madman.
This sincere outlook is also insane, as you can see from how the stock and bond markets have behaved in recent years in response to various policy actions.
I’m worried that the Republicans in Congress will gladly do nutty things in the name of their nutty beliefs. At this point, they’d shut down the government, default on its debts, just to make the point they believe we’re spending too much. They’ll create a crisis in the name of avoiding a crisis. That’s not governance in any form any of us should recognize or respect.