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Thursday, February 13, 2014


Gaining From a Bad Deal...?

The headline is Bud Norman's; the question mark is mine.

I like Bud Norman; he’s conservative, witty, and a good writer. But like most of us he has a tendency to fool himself on occasion by managing to hold two contradictory ideas in his head at once. In the present instance, Republicans who convinced themselves that capitulating on the debt ceiling would be a small positive for the party hold two contradictory ideas about the voting public. The first is that “A crucial percentage of voters pay too little attention to politics to hear these arguments [about the crushing federal debt], and even if the arguments were to somehow sneak into the news accounts that occasionally interrupt the average uninformed American’s day he would likely be unmoved.”

The reason is that the Democrats in the media will amplify the imaginary horrors of a government shut-down and ramp up talk of a default. And that’s true. But then they believe that “ the majority of Republican congressman who opposed the deal will be able to remind their conservative voters that they at least voted “no.” The Democrats won’t have another unpopular showdown to blame on the Republicans, and they’ll still be remembered as the party that promised you could keep your health care plan if you liked it and then cancelled the policy and forced you to pay more money for one covering things you don’t want or need.”

So come election day those same voters will become astute students of the issues, blame Democrats for all the country’s problems and pull the lever for the Republicans. Oh, and in the meantime, those same voters will be told about the great things that ObamaCare is doing for them, including their new-found ability to break the shackles of work, being able to follow their dreams with government health care, ObamaPhones, SNAP cards and government housing.

I certainly hope that Bud Norman and the Republicans in congress who believe that endless retreat is the way that wars are won are right, but I’m not at all sure that they are. The Russians managed to pull that stunt on Napoleon several centuries ago, but they had the assistance of nature. At the end of the day, you can retreat only so far and then you’re out of both space and time. I’m not persuaded that waiting for the crash will be the beginning of a renewed American Republic. In other times and other places that’s often the time when the proverbial Man on Horseback makes his appearance.

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