Thursday night, I happened to catch a remark by Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan, in which she gleefully reported that she had labeled President Obama a “loser” in her Friday column. Given the potentially dire context of our looming financial crisis, I considered such a personal attack on our president irresponsible at best. Sure enough, there it was in Friday’s WSJ. In fact, the whole column was even more scurrilous than her flip remarks on TV had suggested. What Noonan’s arch analysis missed completely is that if we default, the federal government would be incapable of prioritizing which recipients to pay and which to stiff; let alone improvising how to get checks or bank credits out to the lucky ones. The ripple effect of unpaid obligations throughout a nation in which millions of individuals and small businesses are hovering on the brink of bankruptcy seems not to have occurred to Ms Noonan or the Tea Party morons she attempts to cast as modern heroes.
It’s becoming increasingly clear as the debt ceiling deadline approaches that those who hate Obama for whatever reason are so determined to defeat him on a major issue they will take extraordinary risks to do so. It’s also clear they have little comprehension of what those risks are, or even how much their financial brinksmanship may have already cost the nation (or the world).
What’s also clear is that Tea Party extremists are so focused on the 2012 general election and their goal of limiting the Obama Presidency to one term, they have chosen the financial equivalent of a nuclear weapon. That they may have succeeded in exposing Obama’s innate timidity seems likely, but the cost of that “victory” may be the long-term eclipse of their own party.
Given the abysmal quality of their presidential candidates and Congressional “leadership,” let us devoutly hope so.