Yesterday – maybe the day before that, by now – James Fallows who is usually a voice of reason, answered his question about President Obama’s negotiating stance during the (unnecessary and abusive) debt-ceiling “showdown.” Was he thinking eight steps ahead of the opposition, playing multi-dimensional chess while they were playing tic-tac-toe? Or was he a fatal step or two behind, playing patty-cake while they were playing Mixed Martial Arts? Chess master? Or pawn?”
I think we know the answer, at least about this encounter. Pawn, and captured pawn at that.
It has been very discouraging, it just seems like Obama has been head faked out of his jock. My big complaint, I think most of my fellow lefty’s big complaint, is that he should have seen this coming. Additionally, he seems to always start the negotiation by giving the Republicans half of what he thinks they want. He is a little like Charlie Brown and Lucy with the football, except in this case, he is pulling the football out first to try and placate them.
In Obama’s defense, the Tea Party faction of the Republican Party just seems to be crazy. The advantage of being crazy is that the sane people have to do all the accommodating. Something like twenty five years ago – I remember it like it was only five years ago – I was waiting in the ten items or less line, when I realized the person two or three people in front of me had an over-full cart being pushed by a crazy looking teenager. Just then, her mother came running over very embarrassed saying something like Oh! no, dear; it is not nice to put a full cart in this line. The crazy teenager just looked at us like somebody yelling in the street and said They don’t care. She probably wasn’t drolling but I do remember as looking slightly dangerous in a ready to go berserk way. We all looked at our feet, including the checker, and she went ahead.
If it looks like the other person is nuttier than a fruitcake and could do something really dangerous like shut the government down, then they have all the power. Especially with somebody like Obama whose persona is the cool, calm, sane, only adult in the room. That is great that he is the only adult in the room except he has no power. The Tea Party is getting its way by being crazy.
That actually doesn’t sound too crazy to me.