Andy Harris, Super-Genius Congressman, Takes Himself Hostage In Fiscal Cliff Talks

12/14/2012 12:17 pm ET

One of the more fun aspects of the ongoing negotiations over the so-called fiscal cliff is that so many of the participants just do not seem to be particularly bright, and so they say things that make you wonder if they've been paying attention, even just a little bit, to what's happening. For example, The Washington Post's Lori Montgomery and Paul Kane have published their Friday dispatch about the back-and-forth between the two sides, and several paragraphs in, we get a cameo appearance from a freshman member of the House of Representatives who is just hopelessly out of his depth:

Meanwhile, anti-tax sentiment is so strong in the House that one GOP freshman, Rep. Andy Harris (Md.), said he would vote against any tax increase that wasn’t paired with spending cuts at least 10 times as large. And if Obama rejects such a deal? "Then we go over the cliff," Harris said.

Uh-huh. Let's break this down, shall we? Obviously, there is no 10-to-1 cuts-to-revenues deal in the offing, and Harris' own party leadership is not even seeking one. It is a complete non-starter. But Rep. Harris, tough man and fearless negotiator, will vote against any deal that isn't a 10-to-1 cuts-to-revenues arrangement. And he's prepared to stare down President Barack Obama and say, "Fine, over the cliff we go, then."

And what happens if we go over the cliff? Well, shucky-ducky! All the Bush-era tax cuts expire, instantly, and there is no longer any "deal" to be made in exchange for tax increases. Harris doesn't understand the "fiscal cliff" well enough to realize that he is not actually issuing an ultimatum here. He's just saying that he is so opposed to tax increases that if he doesn't get his way, he'll do what he can to ensure that there are tax increases. It's like watching a hostage volunteer to put the gun to his own head.

All you can do is laugh.

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