Friday, April 08, 2011

Shutdown PTSD

You know you are in trouble when you almost launch your TV remote at David Gregory for having the audacity to ask Steny Hoyer if the Democrats standing up for women's health care is a political ploy simply trying to cast the Republicans as "extremists".

Seriously kids, don't ever stand up to the bullies, because you might make them look bad.

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There are reasons why I avoid the Villagers, and you're looking at it. Steny did a good job here, better than most of his appearances, but I almost lost the TV at Gregory's insinuation, and I really can't afford to buy another one right now.

And then I damn near wanted to throw up when I saw a "Countdown to Shutdown" clock running at the WaPo.

(EDIT 8:15PM: They ALL are running countdown clocks now. The NY Times even did a story on it.)

PTSD reactions. I've seen this movie twice before, right on down to the Republicans cheering for shutdown and lying about agreements they have made. The Democrats are willing to compromise, the Republicans then move the goalposts and ask for more. Been there, done that, didn't get a t-shirt. It doesn't end well for average folks. And it doesn't matter if we end up saving Planned Parenthood this time; the Republicans are going to keep taking hostages, because they know it works.

They've already won this round. Notice the argument is all about domestic cuts. Not about closing corporate tax loopholes. Not about raising taxes on the wealthy. This argument is about which group of poor and middle class people are going to be made to pay so the rich can keep their tax cuts.

I want some details on the $38 billion in cuts that apparently everyone has agreed to. If y'all in DC haven't noticed, we are getting slammed out here in the states, and further cuts are only going to exacerbate the situation. People are getting hurt out here, and they're pissed. And if you don't stand up to this, it's going to keep getting worse. The battle over the debt ceiling, the battle of this year's budget, the Republicans are going to keep playing the same card over and over again. The Ryan joke-of-a-budget proposal is proof of that.

At some point you have to stand up. Do you want affordable health care in this country? Do you want quality education in this country? Do you want green jobs in this country? Do you want to invest in this country?

Do you want to "win the future"?

Well, it's pretty obvious you are going to have to fight for it. And you are going to have to fight very, very hard, because the media is busy with the "both sides do it" argument, and the average person is left to believe that there isn't a lick of difference between the parties, and then they stop paying attention altogether.

Ezra put it best this morning:
And the problem isn't just the policy. What the two parties are trying to prove about themselves, and about their relationship going forward, is very big. John Boehner is trying to convince Republicans in the House and Republicans in the country that they can trust him, that he's conservative enough and steely enough to represent their interests in negotiations with the Democrats. And Democrats are trying to show that they will not be rolled over in negotiations simply because the Tea Party is unwilling to compromise, that they still control the Senate and the White House and they plan to act like it. These negotiations are really about the next negotiations, and the negotiations after that. Both parties worry that if they compromise now, they only embolden the other side later. And later is when the stakes get really high.

For that reason, more than a few observers and participants have suggested to me that perhaps a shutdown tonight would be healthy. Better, they say, that Democrats and Republicans test what happens if they refuse to compromise now, when the consequences can be contained, than later, when the fight will be over the debt ceiling and the consequences could be catastrophic. That they may be right is a depressing commentary on the forces buffeting our political system right now, and the very real, very large risks they pose to the country.

Only problem with that last paragraph is this: The Democrats have already compromised enough. There comes a point where being the "adult" in the conversation means you have to say no to the demands of people who are behaving like children. And you have to make it stick.

Are we there yet?