Give Up Now GOP. You Lost.

1. President Obama caves.

He agrees to delay the Affordable Care Act for a year to restart the government, and agrees to budget cuts and entitlement cuts beyond the sequester-level budget Democrats have already agreed to in order to raise the debt ceiling. Tea Partiers triumph.

Many congressional Republicans still think this is a possibility. They see Barack Obama as a weakling who will always crumble in the end. They also suffer from a common political delusion, that the American public agrees with you on both the substance of policy and the tactics you’ve chosen. So even with polls showing approval of the shutdown, their party, and the institution in which they serve plunging to the depths of Hades, they believe they’re going to win and get everything they want.

Odds: 3 flepzillion - 1

Read the rest of our odds on how this mess ends here.

I would love to see some kind of Back to the Future Hill Valley/Hell Valley alternate-timeline scenario depicting how our brave colonial-garbed no-tax-aficionados would act when faced with the kind of government immolation they crave. Ignore for the moment all the ethereal machinery regarding fiscal policy and Medicare percentages and foreign relations and other intangibles. Think about your morning today. Your radio wasn’t a jumbled mess thanks to the FCC. And those weather reports only occur due to the National Weather Service (under the umbrella of the Commerce Department—hope Texas doesn’t need any hurricane or tornado warnings). On the way to work from the house you might’ve bought with governmental help in the form of the mortgage interest tax deduction, you may have your life saved thanks to federal regulations mandating seat belts and child safety seats. OSHA has your back against unsafe work conditions. The FDA labels food against manufacturers’ desires so you know what you’re actually eating. The EPA works to improve air and water quality. Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.
Alec Bings, unfortunately prescient about impending government immolation in 2011

As part of the resolution to the crisis, Obama should demand that whatever agreement they come to include eliminating the debt ceiling. Not raise it, blast it to oblivion. The fact that we have a debt ceiling at all is ridiculous. It essentially requires Congress to approve every budget twice, once to spend the money, and once to pay the bills for the money they just spent. There’s only one other democracy in the world (Denmark) that has such a thing, and they set theirs high enough that it never matters. In the days before the Republican Party descended into madness, the debt ceiling was nothing more than an occasion for some harmless grandstanding by the opposition party, but now it has become a weapon of economic destruction that needs to be disarmed. So get rid of it. If Republicans don’t want the country to take on debt, they can try to put together a balanced budget and see if it can pass. But this insanity has to stop, and the way to do it is to take away the minority party’s ability to initiate what Bloomberg News calls “an economic calamity like none the world has ever seen.”

That’s what Obama ought to demand.

Paul Waldman, on the debt-ceiling crisis. 

Nikki Giovanni wrote a new poem to celebrate the March on Washington’s 50th anniversary

We, too

I was home
In Lincoln Heights
Named for Abraham
As many other small black
Communities are
 
Only 20 years old
Not cowardly
I had picketed Rich’s
Department Store in Knoxville
I sat in with Fisk University
In Nashville
 
But not all that Brave
 
Mommy didn’t want
Me to go
Neither did my father and I wondered
Would it matter
 
50 years later I know
It did
We watched
We prayed
We, too, were
inspired

I didn’t go
 
I stayed home
And reminded myself:
We also serve
Who sit
And Wait

Read a Q&A with the legendary poet here

My basic problem with Paul is this: His conception of freedom is fairly simply expressed as the equation less government = more freedom. For someone like me, that equation is woefully inadequate, because the power of the federal government is sometimes necessary to ensure that people’s individual freedom isn’t being infringed upon by other sources.

In 1999, as he was preparing his run for the White House, George W. Bush made an important purchase. The son of a president and grandson of a senator, born in Connecticut and schooled at Andover, Yale, and Harvard, bought himself a ranch. Over the next ten years, he would repeatedly bring photographers out to document him clearing brush, always with Stetson atop his head and gigantic belt buckle firmly in place.

Bush may not have been much for book learnin’, but he appreciated the power of political iconography. The cowboy, he knew, is perhaps the most potent American archetype, the hero whose story speaks to everything many Americans want to believe about themselves and their country. And today, the newest star of the Republican party has more cowboy in his little finger than Bush had in his whole being - for better and for worse. As a candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry will be enacting a particular performance of masculinity, one that will resonate powerfully with some people - especially white men - even as it alienates others.


Rick Perry ain’t no pretend cowboy - he’s the real damn thing. 

In 1999, as he was preparing his run for the White House, George W. Bush made an important purchase. The son of a president and grandson of a senator, born in Connecticut and schooled at Andover, Yale, and Harvard, bought himself a ranch. Over the next ten years, he would repeatedly bring photographers out to document him clearing brush, always with Stetson atop his head and gigantic belt buckle firmly in place.

Bush may not have been much for book learnin’, but he appreciated the power of political iconography. The cowboy, he knew, is perhaps the most potent American archetype, the hero whose story speaks to everything many Americans want to believe about themselves and their country. And today, the newest star of the Republican party has more cowboy in his little finger than Bush had in his whole being - for better and for worse. As a candidate, Texas governor Rick Perry will be enacting a particular performance of masculinity, one that will resonate powerfully with some people - especially white men - even as it alienates others.

Rick Perry ain’t no pretend cowboy - he’s the real damn thing.