You can hardly blame the growing number of decent folks, long respected, admired writers like Elizabeth Drew, who are now, or still, calling on Barack Obama to stop being a wimp, a disappointment, a terrible negotiator, or a betrayer to his people, principles and Party and become a better President. But he won’t, people, so what’s plan B?
I’m a great fan of Ms. Drew; have been for, um, decades. In her now widely seen article, she joins many others urging Mr. Obama to just say no to the economic terrorists holding the government, its credit, its finances and its functions hostage. Just demand a clean, no strings bill to raise the debt limit and tell the nation, and the Tea-GOP, that he’s had enough. The nation would cheer.
The problem with all such urgings is they assume the President is being forced to accept terrible public policy, and that only a stiffer spine, backed by his supporters, or perhaps a more clever bargaining strategy, would release the inner President he keeps hidden.
The country is under siege by a determined, arguably suicidal group of anti-government extremists. It cannot afford such delusions. Let go, people. He is what he seems, and the people surrounding him believe the same economic gibberish and double speak he mouths. They’ve repeated this gibberish far too many times for anyone to remain confused.
There is ample evidence, delivered almost daily in his press conferences and statements by his closest advisers, that he deeply believes in the economic austerity, confidence fairy, and debt hysteria notions that fully account for this public positions. The President and his men simply support terrible policies.
If for no other reason than naked political self preservation, the nominal leaders of the Democratic Party should be disconnecting from the suicide pact Mr. Obama wants them to sign. But where is the evidence they understand this?
In the Senate, Harry Reid is fashioning an alternative plan for his Party to self destruct. It even includes another anti-democratic Cat Food Commission to finish the job. What political genius came up with the idea that an acceptable out would be to slash federal spending during a still possible depression by $2.6 trillion or so, with or without new taxes, and putting the family jewels at risk again, as the best way to appease the terrorists? What will the terrorists demand next as they dismantle government’s ability to function?
It’s not just Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid at risk. While the media are focused on the big three, the Tea-GOP in the House are furiously slashing every government program in sight, save only our ability to make permanent war and reward returning soldiers. No essential functions are safe. None.
So it is a profound mistake for supporters of Social Security and Medicare to focus on saving only themselves and not seeing the necessity for a grand alliance to protect the very notion of government functioning in the public interest. They’ll all be done in by divide and conquer.
A few, including Barney Frank and Some House progressives now realize there can be worse outcomes than a failure to meet the August 2 deadline and risk an escalating default. No, a worse outcome would be to concede to the terrorists that they can force the government to dismantle itself piece by piece every time the terrorists seize another hostage. You can’t satiate the Zombies’ frenzy; you can only defeat them. What’s the plan to do that?
The potential risks of default are great, but the risks of dismantling and crippling government may now be greater. In a default, the Executive at least has some weapons, and they can allocate the damages. No doubt, Geithner will shield his creditor friends first, and after that, there will be terrible choices to make. Or perhaps, Tim may actually reread the Constitution or have Ben mint a coin or two.
When those choices are explained, then tens of millions of victims may finally realize it is their lives being threatened. Only they can change the dynamics. If they do not, they are screwed in any event.
We are living in the era of shock doctrine. It’s time we considered using it as a weapon on our side too. If not, what’s plan C?