The Wicked Games That Washington Plays

Winston Churchill is one of my favorite people in history and one of my favorite statesmen.  He was always quick with a quote.  For instance, when talking about socialism he said,

Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.

So true. But another quote of his I believe can be twisted in my own certain way to prove a point.

Russia is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Now we are not dealing with Russia, but out prospects of hitting the debt ceiling on August 2nd, and there not being a “deal” on how to avoid this car wreck.  So channeling the spirit of Churchill, I see the debt ceiling crisis as:

A series of complex games consisting of Chicken, Russian Roulette and Three Card Monte.

First, DC is playing a game of chicken.  The federal government has always raised the debt ceiling and then proceeded to keep on spending until DC had to raise it again. President Obama is seriously looking at a financial crisis in the face.  He sure doesn’t want to go down the President who defaulted on our commitments.  As I was watching the political news shows, only now have the pundits started stating that foreign governments would get paid before our own citizens – especially those on social security – should the debt ceiling be reached.  Not good for a President who would like to be re-elected.

Second, DC is playing a game of Russian Roulette.  Who will pull the trigger and find the bullet?  As each side jockeys for position, the game gets more and more dangerous.  There is almost too much on the line 10 days out from the deadline for either side to cave or give an ounce of credit to the other side.  The fact that the pundits are talking about the “Biden talks” shows that the GOP has failed to get ahead of this story.  I blame Speaker Boehner and especially Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.  Failures in leadership. Should the GOP keep the House, Boehner should be replaced.  Should the GOP take the Senate, McConnell needs to be replaced.  I’m a Republican, but for God’s sake, if I was in DC there is not enough kool-aid for me to drink that would bring me to vote either of these gentlemen back into leadership positions.

Third, DC is playing a game of Three Card Monte.  It has been over 800 days since Washington has had a budget.  You heard it right.  The media has not been talking about it, conservative pundits and bloggers have been, but not the media.  The federal government has not been operating under a budget framework.  They just spend as they go.  So Obama and Congress use make-believe numbers to create imaginary spending bills with REAL consequences.  The result is the largest “budget” deficit ever and the largest national debt ever.

The fact that Boehner walked out of negotiations today really made the President mad.  Actually, I think Speaker Boehner not returning the President’s phone calls REALLY made him mad.  The GOP will get the blame for failing to come up with yet ANOTHER plan to avoid the car wreck of default we talked about earlier.  Meanwhile, Obama and the Democrats have yet to put forth a plan of their own (or an actual budget on paper).  When Obama walked out on negotiations last week, it was again the GOP’s fault. The media story line continues.

Personally, I feel that there was possibly even a fourth game being played – Politics.  The Cut, Cap, and Balance plan was a way to quell the uproar from the Tea Party and other conservatives including independents.  This way, the GOP can come back and say “we tried it your way, it didn’t work, so now we have to do it our way – the Mitch McConnell way”.  At the same time, I believe Cut, Cap, and Balance allowed the GOP to split the conservative and independent uproar between those that supported that plan and those that don’t want the debt ceiling raised – period.

The game of Politics is a dangerous one to play as well.  If the GOP capitulates and allows a deal through 2013, then two things will have happened.  First, the GOP will have given Obama cover until after the 2012 elections so the Presidential elections will be about ideological issues of Left vs Right instead of big overspending government vs responsible small government.  Second, the GOP will have passed on forcing Obama to cough up an actual budget thereby taking arguments out of the GOP Presidential field against Obama.  It’s hard to argue abstract imaginary budgets versus actual written budget.  Finally, the GOP capitulating will allow President Obama to show that he can lead whereas he has been drifting like a leaf in the wind since he lost his super-majority yes-men Congress.

The political pundits are already on TV this evening screaming about how the sky is falling.  Either we deal with the debt crisis now, or we can deal with it later.  One way or another we MUST deal with it at one point or another.  The debt crisis is not going to go away if Obama and Congress ignore it and keep spending like there is no tomorrow.  Washington needs to bite the bullet now and get it done with.

Wicked, dangerous games they play.  And in the end if our elected officials cannot fix the debt problem, who loses?  You and I.  Morning in America will have seen the sunset once and for all.


Crossposted from Downstate Illinois Advocate

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