Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Do It Yourselfishness

While almost everyone complains about their jobs, from time to time, there are also days like today when the work almost does itself.

On the debt ceiling and government shutdown front, the entire world is waiting for more details. From the information we have at our initial publishing time, it appears the potential Senate deal would re-open the government at current funding levels until January 15th, while extending the debt ceiling through February 15. The deal would also require Congress to have a Conference Committee meeting on the budget in December - the same kind of committee meeting House Republicans have avoided having with Senate Democrats over twenty times this year. Sadly, it doesn't appear that the option for removing the debt ceiling as a weapon will happen this round, though as Greg Sargent suggested, it may get some discussion in the next round of talks.

Effectively, the deal is now in the hands of Senators Reid and McConnell, who will likely pass the bill on Wednesday, forcing Speaker Boehner to pass the Senate bill in the House late Wednesday or Thursday. That will force Boehner to make the decision we noted on Monday: Choose to side with the world and be a hero? Or choose to side with the Tea Party and destroy most of the economies on Earth.

Only an idiot would make the wrong choice in a situation like that. That said, House Republicans and indeed the entire GOP have seemingly been on a suicide mission this past year.

Case in point, Representative Lee Terry of Omaha, a Republican who - when the shutdown began - effectively painted a target on his own back when he insisted to Omaha World-Herald reporter Joe Morton that he needed his paycheck to pay for his nice house. Meanwhile, federal employees in Omaha - all of whom are his constituents - have been without paychecks for over two weeks now.

As Steve Benen also noted Monday afternoon, Terry's self-inflicted trauma has lead to a series of events that read like the playbook nearly every Democratic challenger will be following around the nation this next year.

Rep. Terry inevitably gave a half-hearted apology about his selfish "gimme my check" comment. Still, as a member of 'The Party of Gimme', Terry's arrogance inevitably led to long time, popular Democratic Omaha City Councilman Pete Festersen changing his mind, and deciding to challenge the Republican for the House in 2014.

The fact is, the kind of blind arrogance and sense of entitlement Rep. Terry displayed recently has become a hallmark of the modern Tea Party infused GOP. As writer David Firestone pointed out on Monday, they truly have become the 'The Party of Gimme' - one of the major reasons they never really had a chance in this current standoff with Congressional Democrats and President Obama.

When a group of legislators acts like babies and throws a tantrum, they're going to get spanked by their fellow legislators who choose to act like adults.

Similarly, when specific, backbench, do-nothing politicians paint a target on their own backs, they shouldn't be surprised at all when they end up in the political crosshairs of those obviously more qualified then they ever were.