The Madness Method Explained
Now that things have gone underground in Washington, the wheels of our national fate are turning. A sign of progress is that the first body of this standoff has been tossed out. Susan Rice has fallen on the sword and will remove one jack-boot the president had to humiliate the already damaged Republicans. Accepting her de facto resignation from consideration for secretary of state due to her role as puppet mouthpiece for the Benghazi debacle in September is the olive branch or duck and cover the White House needs. Meanwhile at the Capitol, the speaker of the house has driven his blade through the carcass of Paul Ryan, the only pariah left from the failed attempt to carry out senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell's doomed operation; "Make Barack Obama a one-term president."
Human bids are crucial to these types of negotiations. American history is ripe with the skin trade amongst politicians. In 1832, Andrew Jackson, sick with brain warts, offered several men up to the obviously mad Henry Clay in the National Bank Affair, many of which disappeared completely from public life. Clay, well known for treating states as if poker chips, was well acquainted with Jackson's proclivity for gunplay and offered the president six counties in Kentucky to open.
So now that the sides have mercifully stopped grandstanding to the press every five seconds and begun to hammer away in private, there is tight security on who is taking the worst beating and who can appear the least wretched to the American public when this bloated dung bag is finally sent up for a vote.
John Boehner has already tested the waters on this. The speaker is a poll freak. Many in his employ claim he hangs the results in pie charts above his desk, so that when the TEA Partiers enter his office to complain they can plainly see that now 70 percent of the voting public, 50 percent of Republicans, wish to tax the top two percent. According to the Wall Street Journal, hardly a bastion of leftist propaganda, now 80 percent of voters want a compromise, and for the first time since its inception, over half of those polled believe the election settled any discussion on the survival of Obamacare.
As explained nearly a month ago in this space, the jig is up for House Republicans. But according to reports inside the capitol, after a private briefing with its caucus, there appears to be little budging on the raising of revenues on the rich. Not because it's the national will or a normal executive mandate carried immediately after a general election, but because districts and counties historically fuel members of congress, not states like senators, or the nation as a whole like presidents. The congress has always been a tough nut, made much tougher since for some weird reason the Republican establishment thought it could ignore the influx of the Tea Party fervor in 2010 and elevate an old-line lifer to the post of speaker and then nominate a liberal to lead its national ticket.
But stranger events are to come, as the word being bandied about in the "smart" circles centers on both the White House and the congress allowing this debate to purposely spill over January 1; so all can save political face. And quite frankly, it makes perfect sense.
For Republicans, the claim can be that taxes have now hiked on everyone automatically, thus a compromise can occur without breaking the no-tax pledge and the guilty can appear to be actually lowering taxes. Of course, the hope will be that most people don't read this column, which most do not, and will forget that it was congress that devised this insane plan in the first place, in essence defaulting on all promises.
For Joe Cool, the White House can continue to point to the abysmally low public rating of the current congress as do-nothing and act as a hero for five minutes.
All of this is plausible, because in the original agreement, the fiscal cliff directive has a retroactive clause, allowing a deal to be struck on, say, January 5 or even February 5, in order for everyone to appear functional during an actual crisis, instead of merely avoiding one, which in cinematic parlance is boffo.
This, of course, fills this heart with bubbles of sweet joy, if only because it proves the point of this entire Reality Check News & Information gig: All of this is utter bullshit.
Remember when everyone told us this latest in a series of stalemate elections would decide the existence of the nation? And remember how it was the most important thing since Adam banged Eve? Yeah, well, you voted and no one in charge seems to give a flying fart. Everything, as the saying goes, is as it was before. Maybe Barack Obama is standing a little taller and the part of congress with a self-preservation streak is humbled, but for the most part it is status quo with no one standing aside to say, "I guess the people decided", because the people, as usual, decide nothing pertinent, except whose picture gets to hang in customs when you slink back across the border with your baggage packed with Cuban cigars.
For the record, this has never happened to me. It is merely a vacant analogy.
And what then of this terrible fiscal cliff that will doom us all; where blood will run through the gutters of our streets while Baby Jesus weeps for our living souls?
See? Doesn't all that hand ringing on whether Mitt Romney was an imbecile or if Obama stole Florida seem silly now? What fools we were to let these pikers rile our gills, make us feud with friends, take to the streets in gory garb, and wait on line for three hours to vote. It was a fuck around, a piss in the wind. It's akin to surviving a roller coaster ride in which you truly believed you might die and then as you exit a ten year-old kid jumps into your seat.
This is a thrill ride worth writing about. Sometimes I feel as emboldened as that woman who spent her life with the apes. Hell, it brings back fond memories of being half out of my mind; check that, completely out of my mind on gin, sucking on a fresh stogie at Shelly's Backroom with my pal, Georgetown a generation ago: Newt Gingrich throwing a fit for not getting the good seat on Bill Clinton's plane and shutting down the government. How we would laugh.
For instance, I can hear us now deconstructing the fact that with Susan Rice gone, most likely to take the non-hearing national security advisor position, John Kerry, once the bane of the Right Wing smear system, will instead be named secretary of state. Meanwhile, Republican Chuck Hagel will be the new secretary of defense; a man who refused to support the anti-Rice cheerleader, John McCain for president against, you guessed it, Barack Obama in 2008. And then, in the font of poetic justice, Scott Brown, sent packing on a rail by the voters of Massachusetts will get to run again for Kerry's vacant senate seat.
I complete this analysis at the Clemens Estate, but I'm spiritually in Shelly's right now.
Another round, please!