Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Reading the Clean Bill Tea Leaves

On my last post, longtime reader Betsy asks why the media was insisting that Obama and Democrats got rolled before they even knew the details of the shutdown deal, as well as wondering if Obama will tell Republicans to go to hell regarding negotiations over the debt ceiling, as he should know they won't screw with it. I don't have time for details, as it's tax season and I'm up to my eyeballs right now, but figured I'd share my comment as a new post.

First off, the reason the pundits and talkers speculated about who got rolled before we even knew the details is because they're idiots who are paid to talk, whether or not they know what they're talking about. If they sit there and say "I don't know, let's wait for the details," they get fired and replaced by people who don't require facts to substantiate their speculation. Like it or not, television news is considered by their corporate owners to be in the entertainment industry, and they're much more concerned with ad revenues than truth.

As for the debt ceiling, the Whitehouse has already told them to go to hell, repeatedly. But they did it nicely, by insisting that they want a "clean bill." That's polite-talk for "go to hell, you're not screwing with this one." Had they merely said it once, it wouldn't mean much. But every time it comes up, the Whitehouse keeps insisting they want a "clean bill," which means there won't be any negotiating.

The government shutdown was different, as the Tea Partiers hate the government and would have been just as happy to see it shut down, as they don't like what it does anyway. For them, the negotiations were simply the price they'd be willing to accept in order to not get what they wanted anyway. It'd be like if we were demanding that oil companies stop drilling in the Gulf, but were willing to accept something else in return.

But the debt ceiling is different. The GOP is clearly jockeying for position to get something out of it, but the Whitehouse keeps repeating "clean bill," which means they won't even discuss it. And since Wall Street is made of herd animals who are easily frightened because they're dealing with powers they don't understand, they won't even want to hear talk about a default, and are likely to be putting the kibosh on this already. So I'm fairly certain that Republicans already know they can't play this game for long.

And the one thing that could ruin this would be for Obama to tell them to go to hell, as that'd force them to do something about it, to show that he can't talk to them that way. And so we're stuck reading tea leaves, in order to understand what's really going on with our lives. But in this case, "clean bill" is pretty straightforward and I'm fairly confident that we'll get one.

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