Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Sometimes Batman Only Works in the Shadows

This is a political post. 

I have avoided talking about the government shutdown because there was too much information, from too many angles, coming too fast. The wheels that turned Washington were spinning in every direction as the board continually shifted, the final prize transformed by the hour, the pieces and parts flew together at odd angles daily and new surprises kept popping up as you watched people who wouldn't acknowledge the audience's disgust put on plastic performance to a crowd only standing around to ogle the inevitable train wreck.

As I read through the posts from my "No, I'm a Libertarian" FB friend, who seems to only posts links from staunchly conservative sites, it became increasingly clear that the a large number of the people in this country really don't know how this country works. She just found out today that Boehner and the Republicans changed the House rules so that only Majority Leader Cantor could bring a vote to the floor to avoid a pure majority vote undermining the Republican position. My FB friend and her fellow "whatever they ares now" cries to not to raise the debt limit have echoed through the internet, as though raising the debt limit somehow issued the First Lady a fresh credit line at Macy's. Claims that it would be fiscally irresponsible considering how much debt we already have showed a disconnect, because it reasoned that somehow not paying those debts we have now is fiscally responsible. As I've pointed out before, the debt limit only authorizes borrowing for bills Congress has already told the President he has to pay. America, like most large corporations, operates on a credit line...not a cash basis. We're just expanding that line like any growing business does.

And further undermining the "don't raise it" argument from the other direction, all the people we actually owe money to - China, Wall Street, etc., - were giving Congress the stink-eye for even thinking about not raising it. You see, its not a well known fact, but pretty much all current financial markets around the world are built on the bedrock idea of US debt never defaulting. Troubled market? US Treasury bills please! Worldwide. A default would reverberate throughout the world markets, slowing further an already slow global recovery. So how would defaulting be a good thing? Why were the pundits with no finance background were so sure of what would happen when the people who did this everyday were terrified of the possibility?

Another reason I didn't really talk about the shutdown is the affects real people. Sporty works for the Federal government. Spanky is a contractor for a government contract. Other friends of mine as well.  The suggestions by Senators that they and their co-workers take out loans exposed the callousness of the those who scream for our "freedom." You need to go into debt so I can hold out to make sure you also can't afford health insurance! Yeah, real catchy.

Looking back, I keep wondering if this was all planned to some degree. I was pretty sure I knew how it would turn out, but since politics turned into a zero sum game in the past few years, someone still might have closed their eyes and jumped. In the trenches, Reid did a lot of the dirty work to get it all set up, the President in sync with him this time. I want to think maybe planned because here we are, roughly a year removed from the next midterms and the Batman President's quiet methods are systemically dismantling his opponents, this time outfoxing the Tea Party rebels by not negotiating with himself as they expected, a sort of political rope-a-dope if you will. While they danced in front of the cameras, outraged at the results of their own actions, he waited. While they demanded he lead, he waited at their destination. The Chicago came out. "You want to burn it down? Let me get you some gas and some matches. Oh, you've changed your mind? I thought you would."

Not a lot of press conferences. Few statements. Boom. 

Game. Set. Match.

No comments: