As I have remarked before, little things say so much about people. For example, I read that on the most auspicious day in the American political and social calender, the inaugeration of the President of the United States, they have chosen this lady to entertainthem at the White House ball:
She is called, so I am informed, 'Lady Gaga'. Yeeeeeees, quite! At this point let me hasten to add that I have no opinion concerning her 'Ladyship' either personally or professionally because, of course, I know absolutely nothing about her - although I confess, because you regulars are already well aware of it, that ignorance is not necessarily a bar to me offering an opinion on any subject! Anyway, idly curious I turned to her 'Ladyship's' Wiki entry and was amazed to see that it was one of the longest I have ever come across. I really couldn't be bothered to plough my way through it but I gather she has battled her way up through the jungle that is the popular 'music-sleb' scene and reached the pinnacle - so good luck to her. Even so, I am left pondering on the gloomy thought that the American political elite, those powerful 'movers and shakers' whose decisions on grand strategy will cause reverberations around the globe, actually choose to spend an evening being 'entertained' by a sort of raunchy, 'shake, rattle and roll' artiste. It says so much about them - and all of it bad!
In the meantime, thank God, 'The Kraut' has used the National Review to offer some exceedingly shrewd advice to the Republican party. Currently it is at sixes and sevens as to how to deal with a triumphant president prepared to use any and all of the levers of power at his disposal to ram through his programme. The GOP is split between the pragmatists and what I might call the ultras. The latter are prepared to go to the wall by refusing a hike in the debt ceiling, whilst the pragmatists are, well, pragmatic! 'The Kraut' sides with them:
The other view is that you cannot govern from the House. The reason Ryan and John Boehner finally voted yes on the lousy fiscal-cliff deal is that by then there was nowhere else to go. Republicans could not afford to bear the blame (however unfair) for a $4.5 trillion across-the-board tax hike and a Pentagon hollowed out by sequester.
The party establishment is coming around to the view that if you try to govern from one house — e.g., force spending cuts with cliffhanging brinkmanship — you lose. You not only don’t get the cuts. You get the blame for rattled markets and economic uncertainty. You get humiliated by having to cave in the end. And you get opinion polls ranking you below head lice and colonoscopies in popularity. (My emphasis because you just 'gotta' love that sentence!)
I should have emphasised the sentence in which 'The Kraut' reminded the GOP that they cannot rule the country from the House of Representatives. And anyway, America voted for Obama so let America have a good dose of 'Obamanomics' and see just how 'they like them apples'. To huff 'n' puff 'n' bluff, and then have your bluff called simply leaves you looking ridiculous:
The debt-ceiling deadline is coming up. You can demand commensurate spending cuts, the usual, reasonable Republican offer. But you won’t get them. Obama will hold out. And, at the eleventh hour, you will have to give in as you get universally blamed for market gyrations and threatened credit downgrades.
The more prudent course would be to find some offer that cannot be refused, a short-term trade-off utterly unassailable and straightforward. For example, offer to extend the debt ceiling through, say, May 1, in exchange for the Senate’s delivering a budget by that date — after four years of lawlessly refusing to produce one.
Not much. But it would (a) highlight the Democrats’ fiscal recklessness, (b) force Senate Democrats to make public their fiscal choices, and (c) keep the debt ceiling alive as an ongoing pressure point for future incremental demands.
Now that's more like it because it leaves Obama and the Dems owning the problem they created - and soon, very soon, that problem is going to be frighteningly huge! His advice to the Republican party is succinct:
Want to save the republic? Win the next election. Don’t immolate yourself trying to save liberalism from itself. If your conservative philosophy is indeed right, winning will come. As Margaret Thatcher said serenely of the Labor Party socialists she later overthrew: “They always run out of other people’s money.”
I haven't read anything so sensible since I last read this blog!