Despair and Possible Redemption in the Ridiculous Debt Ceiling Debate:
In one of those "Oh, fuck, how do I open the column this time" moments of frustration and weakness, Eugene Robinson compares Republicans in Congress during this debt ceiling insanity to Jack Torrance, Jack Nicholson's character in The Shining and President Obama to Travis Bickle, Robert De Niro's in Taxi Driver. Neither work, primarily because Bickle is a psychopath and who didn't want to put an axe in Shelley Duvall and that creepy "redrum" kid?
If you want your movie references for the current state of the debate, even an ordinary kidnapping situation doesn't work. No, these days, ya gotta go with your mad bombers. Like, say, Dennis Hopper in Speed. When he wasn't hooking up buses or elevators with explosives, Hopper's bad guy was holding Sandra Bullock or Jeff Daniels hostage with bombs and a trigger. His threat to Keanu Reeves was that he was gonna get what he wanted or he would blow up the hostage, along with himself and anyone else nearby. So since a debt default would fuck over most everyone in the United States (except, you know, people who have investments that bet against the country, like Eric Cantor), the GOP is saying, "Give us everything we want or we'll see you in Hell."
Here's the thing, the fucked-up, screaming-into-the-dark, tear your hair out aggravation about the debt ceiling "negotiations" (if by "negotiations," you mean, "An agreement where your lover ties you to a bed, fucks you whenever he wants, gets his friends to fuck you, shits on you, and castrates you, but at least you get to go on living"). It's the reason that the Rude Pundit has written very little about the current pounds-of-flesh demands being made by the Republicans in exchange for not plunging the nation into a depression:
Over here on the real left, where we apparently have had a dome of silence placed over us so that we can only echo back, we knew this was going to happen. Anyone paying attention knew that this was going to happen. No, that doesn't help anything now. Cassandra never caught a break after she told Apollo to go fuck himself. "I told you so" might have worked after the stimulus debate, after the health care debate, after the budget debate. But, like being with a man who refuses to do anything about his failed erections other than to look at his flaccid dick sadly and sigh and say, "Don't worry. Next time," at some point it's just worthless.
When shitty writer and shittier pundit Mark Halperin caught shit for saying that Obama was a "dick" to Republicans at his press conference last week, it was almost laughable. As the Rude Pundit has said many times before, if you say that motherfuckers fuck their mothers, you are merely stating fact. Christ, how great it would have been had Obama really been a dick, if he had said that they have no interest in anything other than winning elections, even if they wreck the economy and make you lose your job. Wait, that's not even that dickish. In fact, congressional Republicans are really and actually acting like such bags of cocks that it's impossible for anyone paying attention to not say they're dicks.
How ludicrous Halperin's assertion was became even clearer when the New York Times reported today that Obama is offering cuts in Medicare and Medicaid as another way to entice the GOP into accepting minimal ways to increase tax revenue (through loophole and deduction changes, not, heavens to Betsy, any raised taxes). Chances are that, by the time you read this, Mitch McConnell will have already declared it a trick and declined, Rand Paul will have threatened to stuff all the toilets in the Capitol with toilet paper, and John McCain will have said something stupid and irrelevant that everyone will report as if it's gospel.
Since one ought to offer something akin to advice (and "don't blink" seems to be au courant), the Rude Pundit believes that the White House should announce that it's directed the Office of Legal Counsel to explore whether or not the 14th Amendment obviates the need for this debate. That's called "negotiating." Giving the other side even more than what it wants and hoping they give you a grain of what you want is not.
Playing chicken is bullshit because we on the left know where that ends. We know who's got the twitchy eyes in the staring contest. What the President needs to do is say, "You know how we were playing this game in the legislative ballpark? We're moving it to the executive one, and you can shove all your budget cuts up your asses." If you want a game-changer, you gotta actually change the game.
Or, to bring it back to the movies, shoot the hostage.