July 16, 2011

The Big “What if . . .?”

Filed under: Guest Comment — Tags: , , , — Bob Patterson @ 12:25 pm

There is a human tendency for people to assume that others are just like they are and that can cause some very great difficulties when two diverse groups must communicate (or negotiate) with each other. Psychologists call that tendency “Projection.”

This month in the United States, the Democrats, who believe that default would cause so much economic turmoil that it would be insane to choose that path, assume that the Republicans also think similarly. If, however, they are projecting they could be making a bit mistake. A catastrophic example of projection and some “what we have here is failure to communicate” unproductive bargaining sessions could soon produce a bad political situation for President Obama who will seek reelection next year.

Democratic politicians and liberal pundits seem reluctant to explore the ramifications of what becomes inevitable if the Republicans secretly wish to precipitate default. In the spirit of free wheeling and wide ranging informal analysis and strategy planning, let’s cut to the chase and ask: “What if the Republicans want default?”

What would the Republicans have to gain and what would they have to loose, if that’s what they get later this month?

For the Democrats, default will deliver a shitstorm of rancor and recriminations to the DNC headquarters.

Regret is a natural human tendency. (I’m sorry that I have to say that; but it’s true.) Consequently if default occurs, some less than stalwart Democrats will lament the pain and chaos and ask the rhetorical question: “If Obama knew this was coming, shouldn’t he have made more concessions?” (That ignores our basic premise that the Republicans preferred default and would ignore even a complete surrender on Obama’s part. but people tend to act within the limits of natural human conduct and many surely would ask that question.)

That, in turn, will have the unfortunate effect of diminishing the number of Democratic Party member votes for Obama’s reelection in November 2012. The precise number of voters thus lost is immaterial because if he looses: one that number will be irrelevant and two because of the degree of uncertainty caused by the unverifiable results from the electronic voting machines the precise number of disillusioned Democrats will be unable to be accurately measured.

That alone could be sufficient reason for the Republicans to make default an example of existential philosophy in action but there may be other bonus reasons for the Republicans to consciously work to make the default happen.

Default could bring on even more examples of mortgage loan defaults. (Can we get a public domain image of Snidely Whiplash holding the deed and tying Nel to the railroad tracks? [“Don’t worry, Nel, I’ll save you!”? Hah! Not bloody well likely.])

[Note: we heard a report on the radio (CBS radio news?) this week that banks have resumed the practice of issuing mortgage loans to unqualified buyers. Isn’t there a classic movie that asserts that every time a bank repossesses a home, an angel gets its wings?]

Default is almost sure to provide the folks with surplus cash (Wouldn’t that mostly be Republicans?) some juicy bargains in the stock market. When a stock market crash occurs there has to be one buyer each time some panic stricken stock holder sells. The buyers love a bargain.

Default will prove to be a “job-killer” and thus precipitate a very intense round of the blame game. Can’t you just picture it? If default happens some top Republican can shrug off that Party’s role in the disaster, point to Obama, and say: “What a man wants; he gets.”

If the default precipitates chaos, which political party will Fox News hold responsible? If Rupert and Fox lead, is any member of the mainstream media club strong enough to buck the trend?

There must be a downside for the Republicans to consider. There is. If default occurs then the exchange rate will change and vacations in Paris (or Perth?) will cost slightly more (or as the rich folks so quaintly put it: “A bigger lump of chump-change”).

Did President Obama make a real bad Freudian slip and give away the game when he said: “Don’t call my bluff.” Luke was holding nothing but he made them think he might have a pair of kings. There is a difference.

It used to be that the political pundit’s mission was to assess for his audience all the most likely possible courses of action. If all the available commentary on the ramifications of the debt crisis proceeds from the assumption that the Republicans aren’t crazy enough to let that happen, then American voters are being cheated out of the opportunity to consider the likely effects of one of the potential outcomes.

If the World’s Laziest Journalist isn’t the only columnist to suggest that an economic ambush/debacle is about to occur then readers are invited to post any relevant links in the comments section.

If, on the other hand, no one else is speculating about the possibility that the Republicans may be willing to “drive the economy off the cliff,” then we are going to need a bit of help (if for no other reason than to prove to future historians that the remote possibility was considered).

If readers of this column agree with the writer, then please send the link to others (or post it on their Facebook page) to alert them to the need for being aware of a potential very nasty dog day surprise waiting in the political wings. If the readers don’t agree, then they might send others the link (or put it on their Facebook page) just to get an example of their (reluctant?) endorsement of freedom of speech.

Before inserting the closing quote, we will add some additional substantiating evidence for the concept of “projection.”

Different ethnic groups with different religions tend to teach the members of the new generaation that theirs is the best religion and when the two diverse groups compare theologies, friction develops. Isn’t that because each diverse group projects their values and mindsets on to the other?

White folks from Great Britain arrived in Australia and ascertained that the local natives, called Aborigines, were not really human beings and could be hunted as an animal species. Some outside meddlers arrived and called it murder.

If one side of a dispute considers themselves to be logical and clear thinking, then why can’t the other side be just as reasonable? Isn’t it just a case of delivering “a word to the wise” and watching for the “Eureka!” moment? Can dueling examples of “projection” be used to explain the deadlock?

Which side of the abortion issue assumes that the other side “just doesn’t get it”?

There was a book that asserted that men and women think differently. It was titled “Women Are from Venus; Men Are from Mars.” (Will there be a sequel title: “Democrats are from Venus; Republicans are from the planet named after the god of war!”?)

If people think that the psychological phenomenon called “projection” really does exist, then shouldn’t members of the tea party be enthusiastic about a chance to convince college graduates that it’s just another intellectual scam from the twerps (when was the last time you saw that word online?) called “scientists”?

BTW how come college graduates endorse taxes for school improvement and high school drop-outs think that raises for teachers is an example from the list of government give-a-ways?

In the movie “Cool Hand Luke,” the Captain (Strother Martin) explains life to the prisoners: “You run one time, you got yourself a set of chains. You run twice you got yourself two sets. You ain’t gonna need no third set, ’cause you gonna get your mind right.” Can that be used as a metaphor for political confrontations on the road to reelection? Will John Boehner ever stand in front of the microphones and say: “Get your mind right, Mr. President!”?

Now the disk jockey will play Eddie Cochran’s 1957 recording “Mean when I’m Mad,” the theme song from “High Noon,” and Johnny Cash’s “Guess Things Happen That Way.” We have to go check up on the Murdoch scandal in Australia. Have a “standing in the rain talkin’ to myself” type week.

1 Comment

  1. Bob, you apparently called this one wrong. In fact, according to the article cited below, for a change, Obama and the Dems played the GOP like hayseed yokels on the debt ceiling ‘crisis.’ Read on:

    Debt Ceiling: GOP Were Set Up, Played Parts Like Unwitting Fools

    AlterNet, July 15, 2011

    Back on April 13th, as Speaker Boehner was being told by the business community not to condition an extension of the debt limit on a deficit reduction package, Sen. Chuck Schumer saw an opening. As Greg Sargent speculated at the time, the Democrats might be able to exploit any such linkage to drive a massive wedge between the Big Business and Tea Party factions of the Republican Party. [...]

    The Democrats could have insisted that the debt ceiling be a clean vote with nothing attached, but they also saw the advantage to allowing the bill to be conditioned on debt reduction. It would freak out Wall Street, kill Republican fundraising, divide the party, and highlight their extremism.

    Obviously, all of those goals have come to fruition. Some Republicans are openly expressing their regret at having pursued linkage on the debt ceiling. [...]

    So, now it’s on to Plan B, which is Mitch McConnell’s pass-the-buck plan to raise the debt ceiling by voting not to do so. The president is perfectly happy to let McConnell save a little face:

    During their Wednesday meeting, Mr. Obama commended Mr. McConnell for his proposal, Democratic officials familiar with the meeting said. He also didn’t bristle at the notion of being responsible for raising the debt ceiling. “If Senator McConnell wants me to wear the jacket for that, I’m happy to wear the jacket,” Mr. Obama said, according to the Democratic officials.

    Why would he bristle? He set the GOP up, and they played their parts like unwitting fools.

    Comment by RS Janes — July 18, 2011 @ 5:50 am

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