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Forum - The Crazy People Will Shut Down the Guvmint

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Agent MattPosted: Mar 29, 2011 - 12:22

Genuine American Monster

Level: 70
CS Original

by BooMan
Tue Mar 29th, 2011 at 10:02:08 AM EST
I've said this once before, but I think it is worth reiterating. I can't imagine that most people can look at the landscape of turmoil in the Arab world and an ongoing nuclear and humanitarian crisis in Japan, and have much patience for another demonstration that our government here at home cannot function at the most basic level. Any government shutdown, for any reason, is going to really anger our citizens. And, obviously, the more petty the reasoning looks the worse it is going to be. Sen. Chuck Schumer is leading the messaging war for the Democrats and it comes down to labeling the Tea Party (freshman Republican class) as a bunch of extremists who Speaker Boehner is afraid to confront.

The message has the advantage of being true, for whatever that is worth these days. Brian Beutler reports that the House Republicans are making two rigid and unreasonable demands. The first is that the HR1 bill serve as the basis for any budget bill. The second is that all the cost savings in the budget come from non-defense discretionary funding. Ezra Klein expresses some puzzlement at the latter requirement:

Funny. I thought this debate had always been about the deficit, or at least cutting spending. Guess not. Rather, the Republican position appears to be: “How do we preserve current tax rates and most current spending while getting Democrats to accept deep cuts to the small fraction of the budget called non-defense discretionary spending?” It's a weird position, but it looks to be what we’re dealing with.

Given this bargaining position, both Beutler and Klein agree that a government shutdown on April 8th is almost inevitable. Jonathan Chait has a good explanation for why the Republicans are being so inflexible. A new study of conservatives discovers that Tea Party-identifying conservatives think the president is destroying the country (71%) while non-Tea Party-identifying conservatives do not (6%). It's really just a scientific way of documenting what Steven Thrasher said last September:

About 12:01 on the afternoon of January 20, 2009, the white American mind began to unravel.

It had been a pretty good run up to that point. The brains of white folks had been humming along cogently for near on 400 years on this continent, with little sign that any serious trouble was brewing. White people, after all, had managed to invent a spiffy new form of self-government so that all white men (and, eventually, women) could have a say in how white people were taxed and governed. White minds had also nearly universally occupied just about every branch of that government and, for more than two centuries, had kept sole possession of the leadership of its executive branch (whose parsonage, after all, is called the White House).

But when that streak was broken—and, for the first time, a non-white president accepted the oath of office—white America rapidly began to lose its grip.

As the study discovers, not only do a ridiculous percentage of conservatives (and, especially, Tea Party conservatives) doubt the president's faith and citizenship, they tend to be more forthcoming about those doubts when talking to other whites.

Since we had such a high number of people saying that they either had no opinion on these questions, or didn’t know the answer, we checked to see if whether or not the perceived race of the interviewer (it’s a telephonic survey) affected the likelihood of offering a “no opinion” or “don’t know” response. It matters. If the interviewer was perceived as white, conservatives were less likely say “don’t know” or “no opinion” than if the interviewer was perceived as non-white. In the latter case, respondents were far more likely to opt for these options. We also found that conservatives were more likely to view President Obama as alien if they believed themselves to be interviewed by someone white than a non-white interviewer.

Which is another way of saying that these white people have lost their damn minds. Since 75% of Tea Party-identifying conservatives think the president's policies are socialist and 76% of them want to see the president's policies fail, they obviously have no interest in compromising on the budget. This isn't a rational debate about the budget deficit and priorities. It's a debate between people who have lost their damn minds and those who have not.

It doesn't help that Speaker Boehner has a hand's off style and is reportedly drunk by late afternoon. It looks like the government will get shut down, and it it looks like the Republicans will come off looking stupid, petty, radical, and obnoxious.

I guess I'm not worried.

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