Blog Credo

The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

H.L. Mencken

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Piss Poor Policy

The two main stories of the day are the sequester "patch" to allow planes to take off on time and the growing calls to do "something" in Syria.

These are examples of the short term thinking that grips Washington (and Wall Street, too, as if there were meaningful distance between the two).

The sequester is inconveniencing wealthier people by delaying flights. So they fix that.  Meanwhile, Head Start is in trouble, Meals on Wheels is in trouble, Medicare cancer treatments are in trouble...

But rather than use the FAA problem to force a longer term fix on other aspects of the sequester, the Democrats caved.  Admittedly, they are exceptionally skilled at this.  However, when we look at the Senators who voted against background checks, we see that the public is pissed at them.  My guess is that picking a fight with the Republicans over the sequester would win support for the Democrats.  People instinctively link the GOP with shutdowns and austerity programs, so starving granny would hang on them like an old suit.  Instead, they forfeit today and give up any leverage they have for tomorrow.

With Syria, the increasingly bellicose language from neo-cons in particular has led to greater calls to intervene.  But what exactly would that intervention be?  What would its endpoint look like?  Are we looking at Libya 2.0 or Iraq 2.0?  Who knows?  Just do something!

You can go on and on: the hunger strikers at Gitmo because we refused to shut that place down five years ago when the Senate collectively peed its pants.  The desire to keep building tanks, even though the Army isn't asking for any.  Climate change?  What climate change?

The problem is we have one party who is completely post-policy.  The GOP doesn't govern anymore, they just try and cut taxes.  And the other party is craven.

As Charlie Pierce says so often, "This is your democracy, America.  Cherish it."

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