I remember back to the dawning of the current Cycle of Unease, the days immediately after the 9/11 attacks.
I'd been ignoring politics almost entirely; politics, current affairs, world news and for the reasons most people do.
It's boring. Politics are supposed to be boring. Like soccer, golf or Dungeons and Dragons, while it matters a great deal to those who enjoy the sport and great benefits are claimed of it, the rest of us are mostly glad that it keeps those who are interested in such things locked away in oppressively smoke-free rooms, chewing nicorette and trying to look dignified while peeing on one another's shoes.
It is not particularly surprising that those who participate in this needful task try to make it seem more significant than it is when in the ideal, it is a mind-numbing routine with occasional achievements, not unlike a garbage worker's job; it's value is mostly recognized when the workers go on strike to remind us that we could, after all, do without them if we were not such fucking lazy slobs, willing to recycle and compost.
And perhaps there's a lesson in there for those of us unwilling to sully our hands with such a distasteful task. Clearly, the standards have slipped to a point that it would be an improvement if the whole lot of them went on strike.
You see, every once in a while it does matter what sort of person we send to our legislatures. We expect our political leaders to respond in accordance to our expectations. And I mean not just according to the most petulant and dogmatic interpretation of our political wishful thinking - I mean, in accordance to "what sane people would choose to do, given the access and information a member of Congress has."
In a way, it's just like a volunteer firehouse. Most of the time - ideally, even - it's a way for people to get out of the house, sit around with friends in a context where they can play with large, rumbly boy-toys, drink sodas and swap lies in a context where belching and ball-scratching is not merely tolerated, but humorously encouraged. The understanding, though, is that when the bell rings, you run for the fucking truck! ALL of you!
For ten years, the American People presumed that they had sent firefighters to the hall, and that if they didn't actually say all that much, or seem to be doing all that much that made sense, it was presumed that they were, after all, fire-fighters and knew at least that fire was hot, water was wet and explosives go bang.
As these are not particularly complex ideas, it seemed safe enough to presume that people old enough to be elected to the House and Senate; people legally able drink hard liquor and presumably able to read and at least sign their own names; such people would know intuitively, that there is a time to play games and a time to fight fires.
I mean, you would think, wouldn't you?
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) said today that some members of his own caucus who are refusing to agree to a compromise debt ceiling deal are hoping to unleash “chaos” and thus force the White House and Senate Democrats to make bigger concessions than they’re already offering. As many as 40 House Republicans, especially Tea Party members and freshmen, have demanded nothing short of changing the Constitution to include a balanced budget amendment before they would vote to raise debt ceiling, even though that has zero chance before the U.S. faces potential default on Aug. 2.This is what we get from the Tea Party Caucus and the freaking' House Majority Leader?
Speaking on conservative radio host Laura Ingraham’s show this morning, Boehner agreed that failing to raise the limit before the deadline would be devastating, and said the “chaos” plan won’t work when asked by Ingraham what’s motivating the recalcitrant Republicans:
BOEHNER: Well, first they want more. And my goodness, I want more too. And secondly, a lot of them believe that if we get past August the second and we have enough chaos, we could force the Senate and the White House to accept a balanced budget amendment. I’m not sure that that — I don’t think that that strategy works. Because I think the closer we get to August the second, frankly, the less leverage we have vis a vis our colleagues in the Senate and the White House.
It's amazing how very diplomatic other nations are being in the face of this assault upon reason and the very real and deadly threat that a small group of economic illiterates would happly tank the global economy in order to achieve a political goal.
But then I rememember Will Rogers' definition of "diplomacy." "Diplomacy is the art of saying "Nice doggie" until you can find a rock."
On that note, I remind y'all that John McCain - A man who is very much an elder statesman of the GOP - didn't say anything like "nice doggie." But more to the direct point, neither did President Obama. Which leads me to think that he may well have a few choice rocks all picked out.