[After hours, just a short walk from the Capitol...]
"We're gonna do it again -- I can feel it."
"Do what again?"
"What we always do -- we're gonna fold. We're gonna give 'em exactly what they want on the budget."
"McConnell. Boehner. Cantor. God, I hate that little --"
"Like we have a choice?"
"'El Foldo, Chapter Twenty-Two.'"
"We have to get the debt ceiling raised. We don't do that, we're looking at a market meltdown."
"I know that. You know that. So why don't the Republicans know that?"
"Oh, they know it. They just won't admit it. If they admit it, they might have to compromise on taxes."
"And so that gives them all the leverage? They threaten to blow the place up, and we cave?"
"So what else is new?"
"God, I hate that little -- "
"Look, somebody has to be the grown-up in the room. Biden, Obama -- somebody has to be looking out for the country's best interests."
"But -- "
"Besides, Obama really believes he can get them in a room and convince them to do the right thing."
"But they won't! They're not interested!"
"We've seen this movie before!"
"True. So then when he realizes he can't convince them to do the right thing, he cuts the best deal he can and he moves on."
"So they win."
"And that doesn't make you crazy?"
"Of course it -- "
"They say they'll never compromise on taxes -- never, never, never! -- and so we say, 'Well, if they're never going to compromise on taxes, I guess we'll just have to take taxes off the table.'"
"It's -- "
"'I guess we'll just give 'em whatever they want.' Aaaackk!"
"You have to -- "
"I can't stand it!"
"You -- "
"They're a cult! That's what they are -- the 'Never Never Taxes!' cult. And they'll stomp their feet if they don't get what they want, and they'll hold their breath and they'll -- and they play us like a fiddle!"
"Welcome to the real world."
"Every time! Every damned time!"
"Well, if you're -- "
"Here, tell me how this one works. They say -- this is during the 'negotiations,' before they walked out."
"Naturally. Anyway, they say they're willing to look at cuts in the defense budget. You know, as part of the whole deficit package. They might be OK with that."
"They 'might be' OK with it."
"That's not even the point! The point is, everybody hears them say it and everybody thinks, 'Well, those Republicans must be getting really serious about deficit reduction if they're even willing to talk about cutting the defense budget!'"
"So -- "
"But they won't even look at raising taxes! See what they're saying? They're saying they'd sooner cut the Pentagon than raise taxes on billionaires! They'd rather go after the Air Force than raise taxes on private jets!"
"It's -- "
"That's nuts! That's totally, completely nuts!!"
"And they get away with it."
"Every time! Just once, I'd like to be the irresponsible ones. I'd like to be the ones holding our breath and stomping our feet."
"You know what else I'd really like?"
"Another very large drink."
Rick Horowitz is a syndicated columnist. You can write to him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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