Tuesday, May 28, 2013

To Do or Not to Do, That Is the Question...

When Boehner figures out how to actually do something -- wait, it's impossible.

So points out Charles P. Pierce in Esquire this morning:
I don't believe there ever has been a time like this in our history. We have had periods of severe political polarization before, but those were periods in which the government was polarized because of conflicting ideas of what the national government should do. Right now, we have a polarization based on the fact that an uncontrollable faction of one of our two political parties — a faction with its own sources of money and power that exist outside conventional political accountability — has decided that the only thing that the national government should do is nothing, a faction that is perfectly situated to make that at least part of a political reality, and a faction that is growing even faster out in the states than it is in Washington. What is leadership if there's more political profit in ignoring your leaders than in being led? Who, in that case, rules? The truly terrifying answer to that is that nobody does. Or, at least, nobody who is elected does.
(h/t Atrios)

Then Paul Krugman counters R&R -- for the umpteenth time -- by trying to figure out what they do recommend that Europe do, fer chrissake:
Their point is that Germany appears to be near full employment, so that fiscal expansion would be inflationary there. And they call for expansionary monetary policy instead.
OK, this baffles me, on two-and-a-half levels.
First, the half level: what, exactly, does it mean to call for expansionary monetary policy by the ECB? Like other major central banks, the ECB has near-zero policy rates, so we’re talking about some kind of unconventional monetary policy. Are we supposed to envision the ECB doing huge purchases of unconventional assets (over and above what it’s already doing in the form of lending to banks against sovereign debt and the promise of outright monetary transactions if necessary)? Alternatively, are we supposed to see a European version of Abenomics, with the ECB credibly committing to a higher inflation target? Both are strategies worth trying, but of uncertain effect — and both would surely be viewed as anathema by the Germans.
 Indeed. So we're back to doing nothing. Is this fiddling while Rome (and Athens, and Madrid, and Lisbon) burns? Maybe.

Darrell Issa has a plan: more non-scandals!

Yes, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-thepitsofhell) has a plan for real sustainable action: subpoena Secretary of State John Kerry for more documents on Benghazi:
House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) issued a subpoena Tuesday in order to obtain documents related to talking points the administration used in the aftermath of the Benghazi, Libya attacks, which he writes the State Department has refused to provide upon his previous requests.
In his letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, Issa states that the "State Department has not lived up to the Administration’s broad and unambiguous promises of cooperation with Congress. Therefore, I am left with no alternative but to compel the State Department to produce relevant documents through a subpoena."
Some bright stars in the firmament might suspect that Darrell Issa thinks scowling is actually doing something, and I'm sure the dim bulbs in his caucus think it is, but I wouldn't be surprised if six months from now Benghazi will be remembered not as a scandal but as South American dance step or a muscle relaxant.

But that's okay because then it'll be time for -- drum roll! -- the debt ceiling!! And that's when the freaks in the clown car will really come flying out.

Oh boy. There's a new clown in town, and his game is to make doing something really, really hard.

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