Sunday, July 17, 2011

Hobson's Choice

A lot of the articles at Watching America fit nicely with this morning's editorial cartoon. One in particular, however, asks a question that should be considered by all of us, not just Republicans.

From Austria's der Standard:

...A bankrupt United States or a Republican Party co-opted by extremists — which is the greater evil?

Such a decision is about as hard to make as choosing whether you would rather contract plague or cholera. One thing is certain: If the extremists are successful in their takeover bid, those unruly children will replace the somewhat-open-to-compromise John Boehner with the dashing House Majority Leader Eric Cantor as Speaker of the House. In that case, there will be no hope of government ever functioning. Politicians like Michele Bachmann, the ideological Lady Gaga of the tea party movement currently running to be the Republican nominee for president, would then be making the decisions. These are the people who suspect that the United States going into bankruptcy would have no consequences whatsoever.

Clearly the rest of the world is watching the drama playing out in Washington DC and doing so with a bit of anxiety. A default by the US affects all of the major economies at a time when most are very shaky as it is. Further, a paralyzed US government affects security the world over. The world has reason to be nervous.

But we in the US are also caught up in that horrible question. If the right-wing Galtians take over the GOP and force us into default, we will have lost a great deal, and not just in fiscal terms. We will be left, essentially, with just one party, one run not by conservatives or liberals by ideology but by corporate interests. While an argument can be made that we are already, at least we have the option of voting still intact. I'm not so certain that would remain.

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