The current budget battle reflects political science more than ideology. Ideology is something you have to compromise for a greater good, or something you can stick by until the last dog dies. The Tea Partiers in Congress don’t care about the greater good, and the dogs are all dead.
ObamaCare passed, and they don’t have the votes to defund it, so threatening a government shutdown is tantamount to saying you’re taking the bat and ball and going home, even when it isn’t your bat and ball. What the Tea Partiers have are safe districts, carved and sorted by gerrymandering and our own tendency to clump (liberals to cities, conservatives to the wide-open spaces), and dangerous districts, made so by the same clumping process. Tea Partiers are either unafraid of any blowback for wreaking havoc on the U.S. economy, or they’re afraid they’ll lose their jobs for not wreaking it.
To call them delusional evil fanatics is mean and also accurate. They’re the product of a political process: robots on autopilot. The question is how to maintain a functioning government with these right-wing Roombas getting underfoot.
The answer is: let them win.
Think how happy they’d be if they could defund ObamaCare, strip the working poor of their food stamps, and impose austerity programs that cut Medicare and Social Security. Let them have it all, but only on FOX News. Tell all the right-wing propaganda mills that they’ve beaten the President, then carry on as usual everywhere else. That’s the beauty of an information bubble; they’ll never check the facts!
For too long the Obama administration has attempted to shirft the national dialogue into the realm of facts, in the face of opponents who have no interest in those sticky things. Truthers, birthers, Obama-is-gayers, all have gotten their say on Rupert Murdoch’s network if just to lend a cushion of insanity to the “reasonable” people. You know, the people who think we can still balance our budget with massive tax cuts, if we can just get rid of all the welfare queens. FOX’s viewers aren’t interested in what the Congressional Budget Office has to say about health care costs going down, and they’re certainly not interested in what’s being reported by the rest of the media. It’s an information bubble, and you can’t pop it, so I say shellac it and let the other side live in it like those people in Under the Dome. (That show can’t be any good, can it? “Well, here we are, still trapped under a dome. I’m gonna run for corrupt mayor!”) Instead of fighting misinformation with facts, feed them the misinformation they want to hear.
You did it! ObamaCare is no more! Congratulations! The impeachment of Barack Obama is going well! Hell, he’s already gone! It’s President Mitch McConnell now! I know, the Tea Partiers won’t be happy with a squish like McConnell as president, but you can’t give them everything. FOX does thrive on opposition, so let them take down the fictional liberal President McConnell for a while, and the rest of us can get on with our lives.
Right now we’re enduring filibusters that aren’t filibusters to stop legislation that these filibusters won’t stop. This is fomented by a grassroots movement that isn’t grassroots, doing all it can to make a new system fail so they can say it’s a failure, because they openly worry that it will be too popular. They crow about freedom except when they think our rights are being trampled upon; then they say they’re fighting for the American way, which is being threatened by a democratically elected president.
Nothing that’s going on is real, but it may cause real damage. It is madness, and as anyone who knows anything about the mentally ill can attest, the best therapy for a madman is to feed his delusions until he is satisfied. (That is right, isn’t it?) Start with Rush Limbaugh: give him some OxyContin and tell him he’s won. That’ll get the ball rolling up the information chain, which will eat it up. Never mind that I’m rhetorically rolling a ball up a chain with a mouth. Mixed metaphors are the least of our problems.
Sure, Chris Wallace and Shepard Smith might ask what the hell is going on, but eventually the echo chamber will wear them down. Leave something for the Tea Party to be angry about. While we’ve made them a liberal President McConnell let’s have this McConnell try to enforce a one-child policy through mandatory abortions or even worse, a single-payer health care system. The fact that they just beat ObamaCare only to be fighting single payer won’t seem incongruous to Tea Partiers. They already fight and win these battles over and over. While we’re placating information bubbles, let’s tell MSNBC we’ve passed a single-payer system. Something for everybody!
Every now and then mention that the NSA is watching us everywhere and see which side gets upset about that. Probably neither. It’s too real.