Between global warming and Fetty Wap, it sure seems like we have a lot of problems lately. But what if our problems were conspiracies? Wouldn’t it be easier to address things like income inequality or adult-sized Batman t-shirts if they were not, in fact, problematic consequences of flawed systems, but rather stuff people were secretly doing to us? Or stuff lizards were secretly doing to us? We can’t know until we pit MacGyver against Nancy Drew, but I’m pretty sure it’s easier to stop a conspiracy than to solve a problem. Today is Friday, and I’d rather be up against the Rothschilds than structural conflicts of liberal democracy. Won’t you theorize with me?
Earlier this morning, Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate struck a deal to fund the government through January 15 and extend the debt ceiling to February 7. The Senate will essentially dictate the bill to the House, which will hopefully pass it and send it back to the Senate before we run out of borrowing authority tomorrow. Or Ted Cruz will scotch the whole thing. Or fractious House Republicans will refuse to pass anything, and the United States will resume its proud, constitutionally mandated position as a second-rate power. But for now, it looks like we have a deal.
With approximately 48 hours until we hit the federal debt ceiling and maybe cause dead financiers to rise from their graves and devour the faces of the living, the Senate is working on a deal. If you read down a few paragraphs in that article, you will find a quote that Ben al-Fowlkes described as the kind of thing you’re supposed to talk about with your caucus, not the New York Times. “Anybody who would vote for that in the House as a Republican would virtually guarantee a primary challenger,” says Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R–KS). Not a primary challenger to Tim Huelskamp! How will the Republic survive? In the contest between individual selfishness and collective responsibility that is our legislative October, selfishness is still fighting. Case in point: Sarah Palin’s screed of misinformation and contradictory indictments of the president, posted yesterday on her damn Facebook wall.
For a second there, it looked like the we were out of the woods on this whole shut-down-the-government-and-cause-a-world-economic-crisis thing. The president has rejected House Republicans’ proposal to raise the debt ceiling for six weeks, which would have demanded minimal concessions from Democrats but also would not have ended the shutdown. The government is still closed, and our statutory borrowing authority has a little less than a week. But there is reason for hope: the GOP’s proposal made no mention of Obamacare, and enough GOP moderates are breaking ranks with the ideologically pure that a clean continuing resolution is possible. Today is Friday, and we are so close to having a functional government. Won’t you pine with me?
We’re in week two of the federal shutdown—which Fox News has taken to calling the slimdown—and default is eight days away. It’s safe to say that some Congressional Republicans are regretting their decision to tie a continuing resolution to defunding Obamacare. That plan didn’t work, in part because it somehow did not include an endgame in which the president called their bluff. An intellectually honest delegation might have admitted defeat and moved forward, but the Republican Party has not. Erick Erickson believes the GOP is winning, for maybe the stupidest reason imaginable. And a growing number of conservative Republicans are telling themselves and the press that—contrary to economists, financiers and the American business community—breaching the debt limit wouldn’t be so bad.