So here’s what I learned watching Thursday night’s Republican debate:
States’ rights should rule the day, unless you’re gay.
Small government is the rule unless a rapist impregnates his victim.
Loyalty oaths should be the new normal.
Ten-to-one spending cuts to tax increases is an ideologically unacceptable compromise.
And refusing to raise the debt ceiling is a stand for fiscal responsibility even if it were to trigger an immediate default.
The action onstage in Ames, Iowa, on Thursday night provided a portrait of a grand old party that seems increasingly at war with reality itself. Responsible governance and philosophic consistency were endangered species in this political arena.
Standard & Poors has a specific justification fordowngrading the U.S. bond rating, and it’s deadly for Republicans. It wasn’t just that Congress showed itself to be reckless and dysfunctional, or that the GOP shows no sign of ever ending their anti-tax jihad. It’s that for a period of weeks, some lawmakers (read: Republicans) were quite literally shrugging off the risks of blowing past the August 2 deadline, running out of borrowing authority, and missing payment obligations.
“[P]eople in the political arena were even talking about a potential default,” said Joydeep Mukherji, senior directior at S&P. “That a country even has such voices, albeit a minority, is something notable,” he added. “This kind of rhetoric is not common amongst AAA sovereigns.”
This is unambiguous, and leaves little room for obfuscation. S&P’s original, lengthy statement explaining the downgrade cited political dysfunction in Congress quite broadly, but did not mention this specific element of the debate. For weeks, high-profile conservative lawmakers practically welcomed the notion of exhausting the country’s borrowing authority, or even technically defaulting. Others brazenly dismissed the risks of doing so. And for a period of days, in an earlier stage of the debate, Republican leaders said technical default would be an acceptable consequence, if it meant the GOP walked away with massive entitlement cuts in the end.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the GOP won’t try to sweep the mess they’ve made down the memory hole. Here’s Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA), who sponsored legislation that would’ve forced the Treasury to prioritize interest payments on U.S. debt in the event of a lapse in borrowing authority. “No one said that would be acceptable,” he said of a default. “What we said was in the event of a deadlock it was imperative that bondholders retain their confidence that loans made to the United States be repaid on schedule.”
That may be true for McClintock. Others were much more relaxed about the consequences of ignoring the August 2 deadline.
House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan said if “a bondholder misses a payment for a day or two or three or four,” it’s preferable so long as “you’re putting the government in a materially better position to be able to pay their bonds later on.” (Video below)
Ryan and others, including Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), were echoing hedge-fund manager Stanley Druckenmiller, who was quoted in a widely cited Wall Street Journal article. Here’s Toomey: “The most high-profile advocate for this was Stanley Druckenmiller … one of the world’s most successful hedge-fund managers, extraordinarily wealthy from his knowledge of the markets, a big money manager now, and a big holder of Treasury securities — and he has said that he would actually accept even a delay in interest payments on the Treasuries that he holds. And he would prefer that if it meant that the Congress would right this ship.”
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) warned against default, but for a time was willing to go past August 2.
“The markets are not fooled by some date imposed to say that that is the trigger for the collapse,” he said at a Virginia jobs forum in May. “I think the markets are looking to see that there is real reform.”
With all the chaos and rioting in the streets of London, it’sproven quite difficult for the media to parse out exactly who is participating in the unrest and what sort of grievances or agenda they might possess. Some have located the cause in the police shooting of Londoner Mark Duggan on Tuesday, August 4. Others have taken a more sociological approach, pointing to issues of race, class, and social alienation in the city’s poorest neighborhoods. But now, thanks to rightwing pundits like Rush Limbaugh and Stanley Kurtz, we have a new, intriguing theory that’s gaining popularity: The rioters are Obama supporters, of course, or, at least, they’re just the sort of people who would support Obama, or, perhaps, they’re being egged on by liberals, or something. Whatever it is, Obama’s to blame:
Most people have no clue whatsoever what the London riots are really about, and it’s not hooliganism. Hooliganism is the result. Hooliganism is what’s happening, but it isn’t why. I’m gonna play for you why, and what you’re about to listen to is the equivalent of Obama voters in this country and we’re not far from this. This is last night on the BBC. During the riots, the BBC’s Leana Hosea interviewed two unidentified women protesters, and this is how it sounded.
Conservatives. Rich people. The riots in London. They want you to believe that this is about some out-of-control police action, that the cops did something. It’s the corporate jet owners. It’s the corporate jet owners and those people not paying their fair share. Specifically, it’s rich people, “the people that got businesses.” If you got a business, you are a rich person. Now, this, folks, is what we have in store. We’re on this path. We’re on this track. I’m glad you’re laughing in there, Snerdley. We’re on this track. We already have near race riots at the Wisconsin State Fair in a state where that kind of thing is not known for. I’m telling you. These are the equivalent of Obama voters in the United States, people you just heard here on the BBC.
Clearly the women are funny. They’re drunk and they don’t know at what they’re talking about. It’s not a laughing matter. This is, in my estimation, precisely what we’re headed for — and I think if this were to happen, Obama would not be upset. Obama wants it.
In 2001, Ann Coulter wrote two days after the 9-11 attacks that “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.” National Review Online soon fired her. Now it looks like she’s trying to get fired from another outlet.
In her Human Eventscolumn today, Coulter writes that a “few well-place rifle rounds” would end the rioting in the United Kingdom. She then added that a “more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself” because it would “remov[e]” more people from the welfare rolls:
A few well-placed rifle rounds, and the rioting would end in an instant. A more sustained attack on the rampaging mob might save England from itself, finally removing shaved-head, drunken parasites from the benefits rolls that Britain can’t find the will to abolish on moral or utilitarian grounds. We can be sure there’s no danger of killing off the next Winston Churchill or Edmund Burke in these crowds.
Coulter’s incitement to massacre isn’t the only thing wrong with the column. Coulter, no stranger to borderlineracistcommentary, also uses the riots to argue that progressive policies in the United Kingdom are debasing people with “long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.”
In fact, Coulter begins her column by noting the race of some of the rioters: “Those of you following the barbaric rioting in Britain will not have failed to notice that a sizable proportion of the thugs are white, something not often seen in this country.”
It gets worse from there.
She later says: “With a welfare system far more advanced than the United States, the British have achieved the remarkable result of turning entire communities of ancestral British people into tattooed, drunken brutes.”
She follows that up with a story of nine-year-old Shannon Matthews, whose disappearance she blames on parental neglect. Matthews’ mother, Coulter reports, only had children to get increased welfare benefits. Coulter then writes:
The Daily Mail (London) traced the family’s proud Anglo ancestry of stable families back hundreds of years. The Nazi war machine couldn’t break the British, but the modern welfare state has.
Then, after describing the murder of 15-year-old Scarlett Keeling, Coulter writes:
Needless to say, Britain leads Europe in the proportion of single mothers and, as a consequence, also leads or co-leads the European Union in violent crime, alcohol and drug abuse, obesity and sexually transmitted diseases.
But liberal elites here and in Britain will blame anything but the welfare state they adore. They drone on about the strict British class system or the lack of jobs or the nation’s history of racism.
None of that explains the sad lives of young Shannon Matthews and Scarlett Keeling, with their long English ancestry and perfect Anglo features.
No doubt the Faux-News pundits and other spoilers will complain that the POTUS shouldn’t be enjoying himself so much due to the several impending (read: manufactured) crisis this country is experiencing right now.
I personally think everyone needs a good laugh and a little fun every now and then, even the leader of the “free world”.
President Obama welcomed the Green Bay Packers to the White House on Friday in honor of the team’s Super Bowl championship win in January, POLITICO’s Julie Mason reports.
“I am just going to come out and say it,” said Obama, a die-hard Chicago Bears fan, said. “This hurts a little bit. This is a hard thing for a Bears fan to do. It doesn’t hurt as much as the NFC championship game hurt, but it still hurts. You guys come into my house to rub it in. What are you going to do, go to Ditka’s house next?”