Spinning the Down Grade

 Joe Scarborough: Intellectual Lightweight


The Chattering Classes Provide More Heat than Light!

Listening to the loud mouth light-weight media wags, whether liberal or conservative, attempt to pin the blame for the economic crisis kicked off by the reduction of the US credit rating on President Obama makes me want to puke!  As Standard and Poor’s made clear in their statement explaining the reasons for downgrading the US credit rating for the first time in our history: it was the reckless behavior of the Congressional Republicans in threatening to push the nation into default until just a few hours before deadline that caused them to question the US government as a safe risk for investors.  While the US economy is experiencing other problems just now, there is no question that the reckless behavior of the Grand Obstructionist Party was the straw that broke the camel’s back! 

The plummeting stock market is a direct result of the panic induced by the credit downgrade, and the down grade is a direct result of the threat by the House Republicans not to raise the debt ceiling unless the President agreed to a budget plan that included all cuts and not a dime in tax increases on the rich.  Hence what is traditionally a fairly routine matter, raising the debt ceiling, became a choice between economic suicide and capitulation to the priorities of the most extreme right-wing elements of the Republican Party; who were pushing a budget shaped more by ideological than economic considerations.  This put the President in the position of attempting to negotiate with the moral equivalent of economic suicide bombers, who were willing to blow up the economy even if it meant they wouldn’t survive politically.

All of the choices available to the President were distasteful to his progressive base and odious to him personally, but he had a higher obligation to preserve the economic stability of the nation.  The old axiom that one should never negotiate with hostage takers is all well and good, unless they are threating to blow up the building with you and other hostages still inside.  In this scenario the paramount objective is to keep the bomb from going off and rescuing the hostages.  Hence those who say that the President should have called the bluff of the Tea Party fanatics and risk default are as reckless as them.  Look at the fallout from just threatening default; we can be certain that our troubles would be magnified ad infinitum had the country actually defaulted.   The President chose the lesser evil, which is the essence of politics in a divided government.  It’s time for the left to grow up and behave like politically mature actors: which means rallying around the Democrats to reelect the President and return both houses of Congress to Democratic control.

While ideologues on the left rant and rave, my sister, a retired educator in New Jersey, who cares for our 90 year old mother, lost $100,000 of her life’s savings in the crash of 2008 and thanks God that the President didn’t allow the government to default.  She represents millions of vulnerable Americans; especially those who depend on Social Security, unemployment compensation, pensions and other government entitlements, or has 40 k’s and other private retirement and investment plans.   After working a life time she is seeing her home lose value, her investments go down the drain and her pension threatened.  Hence she, and others like her, thinks the President is doing the best he can for the American people against the worst opposition any American President has ever faced.  And she believes Barack is the only friend working and middle class people like her have among those campaigning for the Oval office.  And so do I! 

Yet even so, the President just can’t win with the largely white chattering classes that dominate the discourse from their broadcast booths, editorial columns and internet blogs.  At times I feel like Diogenes the cynical Greek Philosopher, scurrying about in the dark of night trying to find a wise man.  After all, it’s not rocket science, and one does not have to be an intellectual giant to figure out who the culprit is here.  The Republicans made it plain that their paramount objective is to destroy the Presidency of Barack Obama. To accomplish this objective they became the Grand Obstructionist Party, opposing everything he attempted to do even when he adopted positions that they proposed; saying “no” over and over like a Buddhist chant stuck on stupid!  Turning a blind eye to the rampart racism and anarchism in their campaign rhetoric and slogans, the GOP encouraged the rise of the Tea Party.  And after the 2010 congressional elections the Republicans elected 87 freshmen who were pledged to the so-called Tea Party – a group of profoundly ignorant avowedly anti-government zealots. 

Congressman Cantor Dressed for Work

They sent in the Clowns!

With their arrival Speaker Boehner lost control of the Republican caucus, and things went rapidly downhill from there!  Rank amateurs with a Kamikaze mentality, these people equated political compromise with surrender and pledged to fight to the death of the American economy to get their way.  The result thus far is the escalating financial crisis that threatens to plunge the economy into chaos and possibly a double digit depression.  Since the facts I have presented here are indisputable, the swelling chorus of anti-Obama invective emanating from the chattering class – a collection of right wing verbal arsonists, wishy washy liberals and fuzzy headed leftist ideologues –makes no sense.  It is fundamentally irrational! While this is SNAFU for the Republicans – “Situation Normal All Fucked Up” – I am puzzled by the confusion on the left.  The critical lesson of the present fiasco is abundantly clear: It is not wise to elect anti-government zealots to office because they cannot govern!    



Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

August 8, 2011


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