Archive - Sep 2013

September 29th

Fight 93

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Memo to House Republicans: IF YOU INSIST.

Let me be clear right up front. I still think the odds of an actual government shutdown tomorrow are only 50/50. And I say 50/50 because I have within me to competing cynical views, both mutually exclusive and both equally likely. One will lead to a last-minute deal avoiding a shutdown, the other will lead to a shutdown.

Cynical View 1, the previously predominant one and the no-shutdown one, is that the recent fad of government lurching from one self-imposed crisis to another is intentionally manufactured by the powers that be to create a narrative. And while there are certainly some elements on the right that aren't aware that they're reading a script, enough of them are in on it that the crises are always averted in the end.

Once I got past my initial "these crazy fuckers are going to kill us all" reaction to the first crisis, this has been my assumption since then. No need to worry about the latest deadline or cliff or whatever. The powers that be will use it to hurt some people, make a new deadline a few months later, repeat until people catch on. And people will never catch on.

The second theory, of course, is "these crazy fuckers are going to kill us all".

There's certainly evidence for this. The crazy right has been gradually taking over from the intellectual right since the early 90's. As they approach a parity of power, these crises are more likely to occur, and more likely to succeed. So they've been almost succeeding for a couple of years, and now they're ready to actually pull it off.

Data point for the latter theory - Texas congressman John Culberson invoked Flight 93 from 9/11 in the attempt to defund Obamacare or kill the government trying, with a hearty "Let's roll!". Culberson later defended this as "a good historical analogy".

Which does sort of work, since Flight 93 did crash and everyone died, but doesn't sort of work, because I'm pretty sure self-sacrifice for a greater good isn't actually part of Culberson's plan. And, of course, it wouildn't actually be for the greater good. But someone who would take an overly mythologized moment to begin with, and then insert himself into it like 9/11 fanfic? That person's not part of an elaborate plan to manufacture a crisis.

If it's Crazy Time, and the government shuts down tomorrow, it's probably for the best. I don't know what it will take to teach these crazy fuckers what "losing" is, but it needs to happen. Unlike the sequester, which was the fault of both sides, and had the ongoing harm waved away because it didn't hurt anyone important, the harm of the shutdown needs to be felt, needs to be amplified, and needs to be hung around the necks of the people who caused it.

It probably won't happen, but I can dream.