As I read stories about the United States now having hit our debt ceiling, as well as hearing commentary from Republicans about creating hostage-like scenarios to get their way on budgetary cuts, I cannot help but go back to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell saying that the number one priority of the GOP is to make sure President Obama has just one term. I also cannot help but think about something Maya Angelou has said: "When people tell you who they are, believe them." I believe Mitch McConnell, and I think that he and the GOP would be willing to deep-six the nation purely in the hope that the blame will go to President Obama, thus putting him in a position to lose his re-election.
I have begun looking at this situation with regard to our economy in that manner. For example, the 2010 mid-term elections were framed as one where the GOP would dedicate its time and energy on creating jobs. Remember the variations of the line, the "job killing failed stimulus?" The GOP was in a position to claim relentlessly that the President and the Congress were not focused on job creation (I've certainly stated my case for thinking in a 21st century New Deal manner, but that's a different subject). The voters responded by turning the House over to the GOP (though I still think much of that was just a clear backlash against the election of President Obama). The last I checked, we haven't seen a single jobs proposal from anyone in the GOP. I think the reason is simple: they don't want to see job creation, because that helps the President. Remember, the number one GOP priority is to deny Obama re-election.
I feel sorry for all of those folks who actually believed that the GOP really represented the interests of those most in need, that they believed that the GOP would help to create jobs. They weren't paying attention to what McConnell and his teammates were saying. And I think the debt ceiling debate really will be framed with a false sense of "trying to get our fiscal house in order," when the only thing that the GOP cares about is doing everything they can, even if it means doing nothing, to bring this President down in '12.
If they pull it off and secure the White House in '12, then the strategy will have worked. But if that happens, then I would recommend that a huge proportion of younger people prepare to join the military or land a defense contracting job, because that will be the only way to guarantee the basic needs that they and their families will require. Everything else will disappear, from Medicare to Medicaid to Social Security to the various health care advances that the weak health care law put in place. And I would recommend boning up on your understanding of Randian and Darwinian perspectives, because our society will be moved in those directions.
It will be interesting to see if the strategy works.