Friday, June 24, 2011

What Fools These Mortals



James Fallows got my attention yesterday with the piece about the House Republicans.

Least Valuable Player: Rep. Eric Cantor

”I've complained in the past about Sen. Richard Shelby's willful veto of Peter Diamond's nomination as a Fed governor, and about Sen. Mitch McConnell's intentional stall of nominees across the board, as a passive-aggressive way to hamstring the Administration.

Both of them now give way to Rep. Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader, who in walking out of the talks to avoid a default on U.S. debt gives as clear an example of petty-ambition-over-national-interest as we've seen in public life in quite a while.”


The less I say about Representative Cantor...oh, what the heck. I think he’s a weasel. He doesn’t interest me. What got my attention was a point Mr. Fallows made further into the blog entry.

”I am on the record, over the years, as a big believer in America's resilient powers. But there are mistakes so large that they can badly hurt even the United States. A petulant demonstration to the rest of the world that we can't meet the baseline obligation we expect of any two-bit duchy -- that it will face its financial problems and honor its sovereign debt -- would be a big, damaging step in the wrong direction. Good for John Boehner in recognizing that more than his own ambitions are at stake here. If the default actually comes, and markets panic, and interest rates for everything shoot up, keep the courageous Rep. Cantor in mind on that day.”

Mr. Fallows is, of course, talking about the insane Republican idea of not raising the debt limit and the U.S. Government defaulting on its debt. There is no other way to characterize that idea. It is Insane -- with a capital “I”. Crazy. Looney. Nutty. Stupid. Irrational. Idiotic. Insane. And if James Fallows thinks there is a possibility it could happen -- it could happen.

I didn’t think it could. I can’t remember if I wrote it or not (if I didn’t its only because I got distracted) but my idea was that Democrats shouldn’t lift a finger to help raise the debt limit in the House. In my mind, Big Business created this monster, let them rein it in. They’d blink. They’d rein in their toadies and the debt limit would be raised. What James Fallows is telling me is that Frankenstein has lost control of his monster.

He’s not alone. If you’ll remember, I wrote a blog about Fareed Zakaria’s piece in Time -- “How Today's Conservatism Lost Touch with Reality”. I just wasn’t prepared to take that title so literally.

If you need further evidence, you need look no further than my State -- Georgia.

Ga. puts probationers to work harvesting crops

”Republican Gov. Nathan Deal started the experiment after farmers publicly complained they couldn't find enough workers to harvest labor-intensive crops such as cucumbers and berries because Latino workers — including many illegal immigrants — refused to show up, even when offered one-time or weekly bonuses. One crew who previously worked for Mendez told him they wouldn't come to Georgia for fear of risking deportation.”

In case you haven’t seen this story, the State of Georgia is entirely controlled by Republicans -- Governor, House and Senate. They recently voted in an Arizona-styled illegal immigrant law. As intended the illegal immigrants disappeared. Now, the Republican-voting farmers of South Georgia have no one to pick their crops. Talk about losing touch with reality. It was politically stupid and -- when you think about what governments are supposed to do -- appallingly irresponsible. Rational people don’t jeopardize their food supply to score political points. But we can no longer assume that the people running our government are rational.

I can’t think of a scarier thought.

Don Brown
June 24, 2011

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