The standee

Posted in Decline and Fall, Extremism at 7:51 am by George Smith

The President as a cardboard standee in the recent mess, referenced similarly through quote collected by Krugman:

Now we are in the midst of a debt crisis that stems largely from Obama’s inability to accept the intransigence of his political opponents … I think if Obama had the sort of experience that Cold War presidents had in dealing with the Soviet Union or that corporate executives and union leaders had in negotiating labor contracts he wouldn’t have been so naïve about the Republicans, who have never hidden the fact that their only objective is defeating him next year regardless of the cost — Reaganite, Bruce Bartlett, now someone who couldn’t exist in the modern GOP

And the Obama appears recklessly unwilling to circumvent the debt ceiling, since it would eliminate his leverage for pushing through entitlement cuts.

Yet as we’ve discussed, the outcomes the players have committed themselves to are either shooting the economy or bleeding it to death..

But as a friend of mine likes to say, “Things always look darkest before they go completely black.??? — Yves Smith, who starts off by comparing the Obama administration and the debt crisis to Nero and the burn down of Rome

Earlier in the month Bartlett explicitly painted the debt ceiling crisis as a security threat. Which, if you take it logically, means the GOP/Tea Party is a national security threat, a position I’ve held for months.

Extremists of all kinds, which I have an entire tab to here, often remain just annoying kooks for life. But some of them infrequently become very dangerous threats to national security. And a collection of them has now figured out how to render US government inoperable from a minority position.

Bartlett made the reasonable claim that the US military is an oil protection force. It’s not a historically unique argument. Nixon aide Kevin Phillips made a similar one in his book American Theocracy, now several years old.

(Phillips book’s observation was that American politics had become lethal and that the country was in danger of entering permanent decline. The book was not an easy read but it’s turned out to be fairly prescient. It preceded and did not foresee the arrival of the Tea Party but did spend about a third of its print space discussing the takeover of the GOP by rigid theocrats incompatible with working government. Presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, who didn’t politically exist at the time of Phillips’ book, a person who believes the US should go into default, is a banner example of American Theocracy’s arguments taken to their final destination.)

But back to Bartlett. In making the brief claim that the military was an oil protection force aimed at maintaining American security by guaranteeing the nation’s economic well-being through preservation of the flow of oil, Bartlett extended the reasoning to the debt ceiling. He argued that raising the debt ceiling was inextricably tied to the economic health of the nation, like oil, and therefore a security matter.

This was followed by a demand (or suggestion) that the President take charge and raise the debt ceiling through the 14th Amendment, rescuing the nation from a security threat. (That argument, at the New York Times, is here.)

The standee is in here, too. “If you don’t lower the corporate tax rate and give us more subsidies — will shoot what’s left of this mutt!” it reads.

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