Suckered By Messy Democracy Masquerading As Melodrama

Ho ho, fans of democracy, we have ourselves a deal. No crisis, as if there ever was one, and no belly up for the debt-addled United States of America. Armageddon avoided. Spin doctoring for all.

Nothing shocking. It is how the sausage is made around here, and if you choose to merely eat the fatty innards of the gutted swine without witnessing the slaughter and rendering, then you were not spared. Everyone needed to be on board this time, bub. Like after 9/11 when every Joe Six-Pack and Soccer Mom was yanked into the racial, cultural, religious quagmire that is the rest of our sick and twisted planet. Sleepy time was over, such as it is now, many weeks and months in: Welcome tweets, blogs and cable news geeks to the world of legislating.

Ugly, huh?

Ugly, but hardly new; where in fact the system worked like a charm, albeit rather publicly, which was apparently the choice of all involved this time. This caused the word on the street to conclude this the most divided government in U.S. history, the worst legislative gridlock. Bullshit squared. Not once during this Capital Hill pissing match did we come close to the tried and true level of fisticuff, knife-wielding, gun-toting wrangles that mar our congress’ past. From the very start, this was a graveyard whistle, nothing more.

And now it is done.

This idea that the country was held up as an embarrassment by airing its dirty political laundry is absurd. Grow up or get a helmet. This is how it works in a democratic republic. Just like in 2000, not our greatest hour but nonetheless displayed that this is a nation, after all the bitch and moan, of laws. And where other countries descend into a pit of riots and coups, we figure it out. Whether anyone is happy with the process matters little. It is a process, and it has an outcome, as predicted here weeks ago.

Also, a deadline is just that: A deadline. Anyone who has done what I do weekly knows what that means. In fact, sometimes it means extending it, like this one, wherein my trusty managing editor, JJ Koczan held the presses so this space could squeeze its gibberish into an eventful Sunday night of last hurrahs. So when there is eight days left and CNN has a counter in the bottom right of its screen and pundits from talk show rodeo clowns to high-paid “insiders” to the blogosphere shut-ins decide it’s time to get things done, they forget that August 2 is not July 15 or anywhere in between, and if you have to make a stand, you have every right and every reason to continue to make it until the clock strikes midnight, or perhaps past that.

Negotiation. Debate. Grandstanding. Rhetoric. Posturing.

Democracy in action: Fierce. Mean. Petty. Beautiful.

Clamor of a “crisis” was mostly fabricated by a media hype machine worthy of its moniker, but also curiously over-stated by the President, who suffered by far his worst month in office, bellowing from his bully pulpit about end times on 14 different occasions, pointing fingers and castigating the opposition party without a single new proposal beyond the already pulverized “tax the corporate jet owner” rants that died on arrival nine months ago. It was as if he were hermetically sealed and rolled out for a rehash of The Great Society every so often, unaware of the conflict at hand.

Barack Obama’s repeated calls for sanity, while turning up the heat on the international markets, Wall Street and the elderly from Montauk to Big Sur about Social Security checks bouncing made no sense. It was amateur hour and he knows it. Or maybe he doesn’t, but he should at the very least know this: Regardless of how bad congress fucks up, the President of the United States eats it. Ask Herbert Hoover. Ask George H. W. Bush. Ask any other poor sucker who happened to be in charge of the executive branch when things went sideways.

It is also important to remember that a Democratic-controlled legislative branch had the reigns and thus an ample opportunity to raise the debt ceiling long before the Republican avalanche last autumn. But according to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, he chose instead to pass it on for two reasons, help stave off complete annihilation on Election Day (meaning keeping his own seat) and dump the vote on a new rancorous Republican class and let the deed fall to them. Reid, like Obama, gambled on the tough-talking Tea Party newcomers’ resolve.

Big mistake.

The freshman Republicans sent poor embattled John Boehner to carry the bad news time and again to the White House and later the Senate with ridiculously worded bills slashing Medicare and capping spending and something akin to a Balance Budget Amendment that even Ronald Reagan and New Gingrich had both previously thought mad. The Right had gone Right, big time—maybe for the first time since the 1929 crash. And there appeared to anyone paying attention that the crazies meant business. And good for them… for awhile.

Almost to a man, the Tea Party caucus ignored the prevailing Cassandra language and forged ahead with no compunction about sinking the richest nation in the world with mounds of debt from two unpaid wars, several unfunded tax cuts, a bloated prescription benefit law so patently insane even the last President who signed it nearly busted brain vessels upon its fallout, not to mention TARP and Stimulus, bank bailouts and propping up the pathetic U.S. auto industry.

Boehner, a Washington lifer who voted over and over for years to add to the very deficit he yammers about chopping down, could not control these people, and it turns out neither could Eric Cantor, his second in command, who up until a week or so ago, stood tall with the Tea Party caucus before even he could not see the upside and began to desperately back Boehner. But still, to their credit, the freshman congressman held firm… for awhile.

In the final hours Sunday evening, I found myself rooting for the whole shithouse to go up in flames, a fine quote from Jim Morrison, who once mused he loved any activity that appeared to have no meaning, which is what is left us after this “deal.”

Letting the system fail may have been the only way for things to truly change, for good or ill. The 87 members of what was once the bold, zany Tea Party had the moment before them. The moment has passed.

Next?

 

James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, Trailing Jesus and Midnight For Cinderella.

 

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  1. Reality Check: Averting The Crisis That Wasn't

    […] The 87 members of what was once the bold, zany Tea Party had the moment before them. The moment has passed. James Campion is the Managing Editor of The Reality Check News & Information Desk and the author of Deep Tank Jersey, Fear No Art, … Read more on Aquarian Weekly […]

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