Robert Stein 1924-2014

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Wednesday, August 03, 2011

No More Boring Politics

“May you live in interesting times,” reputedly an ancient Chinese curse, comes to mind in the aftermath of this week’s fiasco as all signs point to hostage-taking as the new political norm rather than an aberration.

“The debt ceiling should not be...used as a gun against the heads of the American people,” the President says in his concession, but Mitch McConnell sees it differently.

“Never again,” the Senate GOP leader warns before untying the economy from the railroad tracks, “will any president, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through.”

A confirming sign comes from that human barometer Orrin Hatch who, up for Senate reelection, discovers that “I’ve been a tea party person I think since before the tea party came into existence.” The only Republican to eulogize Ted Kennedy at his memorial service will no doubt explain that his praise of bipartisanship then was only a temporary lapse.

This news comes as his junior partner Mike Lee, who upset long-time Utah conservative Robert Bennett in 2010, forms a new Tea Party fundraising committee to “find and support candidates for federal office who share my view that federal government has become too big and too expensive.”

Hatch and Lee have cooked up a proposed balanced budget amendment to limit spending to 18 percent of Gross Domestic Product and require Congressional supermajorities to raise taxes, which has Democratic incumbents scrambling to devise a less toxic alternative.

The outlook for more of the same “interesting times” recalls that the purported Chinese curse escalates into two stronger ones: “May you come to the attention of those in authority” and “May you find what you are looking for.”

Republicans already have. It’s time for Democrats to start looking--hard.

Update: Now Mayor of Chicago, Rahm Emanuel has a birthday card for his former boss, telling reporters, “He is willing to do unpopular things, the necessary things to keep this country moving forward. I have great admiration for his determination, his grit, his willingness to not do the politically easy thing, to do the tough things. Sometimes I would advise him to do the politically easier thing and he rejected that advice because it was not good for the country in the long term.”

Nicely said and undoubtedly true, but the White House has to find ways to translate that into the less flowery language of contact-sport politics.


Bill Hong said...

And guess what? It all starts over again, with the next deadline the end of September--not just the debt, but the federal budget and the reauthorization of the federal gasoline tax.

They might as well take the gasoline and douse the Capitol with it, and let the incendiary comments take care of the rest.

Anonymous said...

May that code of silence be broken, and that tea party queen exposed.