Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Saturday, July 16, 2011

Washington Madness, Madness

As the capitol shows signs of awakening from the debt-ceiling fever dream with face-saving aspirin for both sides, onlookers try to understand the pathology of it all.

Like the final scene of “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” after crazed loyalties and pride have created carnage, a dazed survivor is left to wander through the wreckage, mumbling, “Madness, madness.”

As the Chairman of the Fed describes failure to raise the debt limit as a “catastrophic...calamitous...self-inflicted wound” to the economy, the President in his Weekly Address is virtually pleading for sanity:

“After all, we’ve worked together like that before. Ronald Reagan worked with Tip O’Neill and Democrats to cut spending, raise revenues, and reform Social Security. Bill Clinton worked with Newt Gingrich and Republicans to balance the budget and create surpluses. Nobody ever got everything they wanted. But they worked together. And they moved this country forward.

”That kind of cooperation should be the least you expect from us--not the most you expect from us.”

In a piece titled “Getting to Crazy,” Paul Krugman notes: “If a Republican president had managed to extract the kind of concessions on Medicare and Social Security that Mr. Obama is offering, it would have been considered a conservative triumph. But when those concessions come attached to minor increases in revenue, and more important, when they come from a Democratic president, the proposals become unacceptable plans to tax the life out of the U.S. economy.”

Washington insanity seems to be contagious as Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee finds racism in the madness.

"What is different about this president that should put him in a position that he should not receive the same kind of respectful treatment of when it is necessary to raise the debt limit in order to pay our bills, something required by both statute and the 14th amendment?

"I hope someone will say that what it appears to be is not in fact accurate. But historically it seems to be nothing more."

It’s long past time to start testing what’s in the D.C. drinking water.

Update: Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell are ready to unveil Plan B in the Senate to avoid default. But Tea Party honcho Jim DeMint pledges to kill it. Keep the straightjackets standing by.

Even John Boehner seems to be taking political tranquilizers as he claims Democrats "want to blame the economy on us and the reason default is no better an idea today than when Newt Gingrich tried it in 1995 is that it destroys your brand. It would give the president an opportunity to blame Republicans for a bad economy."

He's right. Crazy is not good advertising for a brand that wants to run the country.

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