Win For Losing

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.

2 replies
  1. Paul
    Paul says:

    What a thoughtful, balanced essay, Dan. As someone on the other side of the issue, I especially enjoyed: Tea Partiers, wreaking havoc, delusional, evil fanatics, right-wing Roombas, right-wing propaganda mills, Truthers, birthers, Obama-is-gayers, Rupert Murdoch (evil), “reasonable” people, FOX (evil) (NEWSFLASH: FOX does indeed thrive on opposition — media orgs are supposed to be oppostional to political administrations, not cheerleaders), madness, mentally ill, Rush Limbaugh= OcyContin head.

    That’s all pretty persuasive stuff. So maybe in your next essay you can explain why members of Congress and their staffs get exemptions from Obama care in the form of extra payments to cover the ‘extra’ expense of the new program. Maybe you can explain why unions like the AFL-CIOand the Teamsters are now demanding that they be allowed to stay on their current health care plans and receive government subsidies to cover the increased costs some of Obama care’s provisions will impose on lower-income workers.

    Maybe you can hold your nose and read in the Washington Times that, ”…more than 1,200 entities were granted waivers from President Obama‘s signature legislation, the vast majority of them labor unions. In fact, unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers, while only 69,813 employees at private firms, many of them small businesses, managed to secure a waiver.”

    Yes, the world is not fair, but for a long time in the U.S., it’s been pretty good and getting better. Having been alive longer than you I can tell you that, under the old system, no one in this country was denied healthcare. They may not have had health insurance, but they had access to healthcare. This is a fact, no matter how many politicians lament the poor’s lack of ‘health insurance.’ Beware the people who promise you utopia, something for nothing, and health care… I will concede to you that, yes, in this country, working people, middle class people, got hambuger healthcare, while the rich got steak healthcare. But I fear that once Obama care is the law of the land, everyone will get a shit sandwich. Enjoy.

    Reply
  2. Roy Griffis
    Roy Griffis says:

    Just to add a tiny touch of clarity: it is the President who is threatening to shut down the government. The House, per that ancient and apparently largely useless document, The Constitution, has the power of the purse. They can decide what to fund and what not to fund. They decided, based on input from the people who are in fact their employers, to not fund ObamaCare, while funding all of the other functions of the government. If there is a shutdown, it will be by the Imperial President, who is more than happy to go around Congress (and the rules and all that other small-minded stuff) when it suits him.

    Reply

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