We are single-handedly declaring this week the Week of Mixed Metaphors. This of course has to do with the upcoming deadlines for shutting down the US government as well as the possibility that the US debt ceiling may not be raised by intra-governmental debate.
Let’s begin with everyone’s favorite: “like a deer caught in headlights.”
This pretty well seems to describe our leader, President Obama. After the gun regulation fiasco of early January, the President seemed finally to understand that common
sense was not at issue: he was. At whatever precise moment he felt the crushing realization that he would never come away from a second term with accomplishments of note, a definite lassitude has overcome him. Sure, he’s still out trying to persuade, but he knows deep down he’s making little or no progress. What’s astonishing about Obama is that he IS still out there pitching at all. Think of the calories wasted in trying to perform when you know the audience couldn’t care less. All of a sudden he is immobilized, like that proverbial deer, but he can’t admit it.
Switch! Now we’re talking sports.
Two ideas: a bench-clearing brawl on the ice, and the old most valuable player designation before pro-football became really pro. The latter first.
In the good old days of the thirties, forties, and fifties, those iron men who played both offense and defense were every schoolboy’s idol. These guys played the entire length of the game, heading north, heading south, tackling, running, blocking, scoring, kicking the extra point. He longer they stayed on the field, the stronger it seemed they got. They were unstoppable.
On the ice,when one hockey phenom is attacked by the opposing team, the benches clear as his pals and teammates rush to his defense. Penalties are awarded right and left, and the length of the game may be increased twice as long if the game is even allowed to continue. But the target of momentary opportunity knows who’s got his back, and that alone gives him the strength and energy to fight back.
This leads us to the not unnatural question of what in hell the Democrats think they’re doing, sitting on their hands, letting the President carry every pail of water. The success of pro-football’s first iron men was that they got blocking from their teammates. Yes, they were titans, but they were also aided in their efforts by their team members. And hockey players’ injuries are always less damaging when an attacked forward is surrounded by helping arms, legs, fists, and sticks.
Now it’s true that since the last election, all political eyes have been turned to the grail of 2016. Can we really expect Hillary to come to the rescue of Obama? Her husband can, but can she? Only very carefully, yet she could give him some aid, comfort and cover in this battle over fiscal diplomacy.
So could the members of the President’s cabinet, so few of whom are even known. So could party stalwarts. Apart from Joe Biden, who stands with the President as he tries to make his cases?
Most Democrats must also be waiting until 2016 to be rid of a man whom no one now seems to respect or admire. There are no new men or untested women struggling to help the President. There are no new personalities breaking to the fore. The party seems to have decided that all this brou-ha-ha is the President’s fault alone and that he should deal with it the best way he can. It has nothing to do with them…but for the fact that most of them voted for it.
The Tea Party crowd is filled with nothing BUT new faces, old ideas, beginners with radical ideas endorsed by fearful millions who appear not to understand what the full faith and credit of the United States now means in an interconnected age. Years ago it would have taken months for a depression to circle the globe. Today it may take twenty minutes. Nor is the genuinely realistic notion of paying for what you ordered anything these people seem to grasp.
After all, the “debt” in “debt ceiling” means paying for the programs Congress has approved. It means paying the wars and rehabilitative costs of the wars Congress has already approved and fought. It pays for educational development, scientific research, the salaries of our armies and navies. It pays for NIH plans, it pays for infrastructure needs and repairs, it pays for transportation needs and preventives, it pays for the C.I.A.
None of these debts, or bills now due, is a surprise to Congress or to the President. We went shopping; this is what we bought; now we have to pay off our credit card bills and our cash advances.
“Like lemmings off a cliff.”
Lemmings are not known for deep individual thought or effort. Neither is the Tea Party. Since none of them has experienced a governmental shutdown or a melt-down in the nation’s abilities to pay its legitimate bills, they can’t begin to imagine how any of this could possibly affect them. In fact, we suspect they’re rather curious as to what will happen. They cannot seem to imagine anything drastic occurring to them, their friends or families, the electorate. Not to mention their bank accounts, IRAs, pensions, investments. Since they’re already against healthcare for millions of American citizens, who cares if they don’t get it? They seem to imagine themselves teenagers whose parents will always step in at the last minute to avoid embarrassment in front of their friends by having children who feel entitled to everything and yet are unwilling to pay for anything.
“Moving the goal posts.”
This final cliche erupted only yesterday, when the Republicans sent their demands for an increase in the federal debt ceiling to the White House.
Pulling out items from past and failed Republican Christmas lists, impossible to achieve by legitimate means at the ballot box, makes a total mockery of pretending to
want to, or pretending to be able to, help the nation continue to recover from the recent great Recession, in large part caused by their own policies.
Now Mr. Boehner has attached conditions for raising the debt ceiling. Thse include a one year delay in rolling out Obamacare, a tax overhaul and a roll-back of environmental regulations. It includes the construction of the Keystone pipeline, more offshore drilling for oil and gas exploration, more allowance of energy exploration on Federal lands. A rollback in coal ash regulations and greenhouse gas production, the castration of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, new limits of malpractice awards and lawsuits, increased means testing for Medicare.
What all of this amounts to is a federal crime called blackmail. Extortion is another name for it.
And if the unawakened Democratic Party sleeps on, a “continuing resolution” to destroy the nation’s financial credability, indeed an entire nation’s way of life, will be approved.