Debt Ceiling Ends With Snicker Not Bang

Debt CeilingExcuse me for being out the whole day. The truth is that my savings is almost completely exhausted and I am forced to start prioritizing paying work. Will called me up with a very boring computer job and off I ran. Why is it that the paying jobs are always the boring ones? Oh well, the job will be helpful because February is the month that all the host names and hosting costs come due. So I’m hopping.

Sadly, I missed something really exciting today. After more than a week of the Republicans jumping from one proposal idea to another, John Boehner finally just gave up and allowed a clean vote to raise the Debt Ceiling. What’s more, it passed! This is kind of a big deal because this morning Jake Sherman reported that there mightn’t have been the necessary 18 Republican votes to pass it even if all the Democrats voted for it. In the end, we got a whole 28 Republicans. Yay!

A lot of times, I think that people (Even I!) expect too much of politicians. Ultimately, their jobs are really just to get re-elected. Nothing else matters. They can be totally corrupt and incompetent, and it doesn’t matter as long as their constituency doesn’t mind. But the way that Boehner and the the rest of the Republicans have dealt with the the Debt Ceiling shows that they don’t even much understand how to do the basics of politics. After years of talking about how terrible the Debt Ceiling is and how we are just spending ourselves into Greece, for them to just fold like this is pathetic.

On the micro-scale, it is far worse. Every day we saw a new bunch of demands. It reminded me of the T-1000 at the end of Terminator 2: Judgment Day. When it falls into the molten steel, it tries various forms, looking for one that will allow it to survive. Or perhaps better would be Max on Get Smart, “Would you accept a Medicare Doc fix and a case of single malt scotch?” A week ago, Jonathan Chait wrote, House Republican Debt Ceiling Hostage Update, with the subtitle, “It’s getting sad.” And it only got worse. “Would you accept a single bottle of blended scotch?”

I do, however, think that a lot of the liberal pundits are wrong to think that this clean Debt Ceiling vote means there won’t be anymore Debt Ceiling extortion. For one thing, there will still be fringe Republicans who will make lots of noise about this. Whether the leadership will pander to them, I can’t say. But it is clear that the whole Keystone Cops routine with different ideas about what the Republicans should require to raise the Debt Ceiling was nothing more than pandering to the stupid and extreme part of your party. (You know: the median!) So I’m not sure it really is over. After all, 28 Republicans voted to raise the Debt Ceiling and 206 did not. Still, it does look like the Debt Ceiling as a credible threat is dead for at least a couple of election cycles.

Now you’ve been updated. Tomorrow should be a more normal day with exciting updates through the day. I’m actually way backlogged. There are three movies I want to discuss: Ikiru, And the Ship Sails On, and Looper, although I’m not sure what I want to say about the second two. I have a few things to say about Victoria Jackson, who remains funny even as she spouts some of the most vile things. There’s a long overdue article about the history of the song “Man of Constant Sorrow.” And so much more! I do hope you’ll stop by.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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