Ron Fournier asks:
Who broke Washington? I'm writing tomorrow's piece. Nominees? http://t.co/qN1VjIme0Q
— Ron Fournier (@ron_fournier) October 2, 2013
Before I get to my answer of who broke Washington (which you can probably guess), let me do a little set-up. Maybe you’re a little more cool-headed than I am — that certainly wouldn’t surprise me — so maybe this way of thinking doesn’t work for you. Suppose that every time you had an argument for a while, you told the other person “fuck off”, and everyone agreed that both sides had done it and perhaps commented that this just showed the strength of your convictions, the unity of your caucus, and the fact that we live in a center-you nation. What would you do next? You might be emboldened to start slugging the other person in the face. And imagine that the reaction was all the more “both side do it”, center-you nation etc. If you were me, it might stop there — I was raised by totebaggers after all — but I’m not sure it would stop there for everyone, especially not for the sort of borderline sociopaths that national politics attracts.
I don’t know anything about the more violent and chaotic parts of the world, but I suspect that once people figure out they can stab/shoot whoever they want without negative repercussions and even be lauded as tough-minded principled Burkeans for stabbing/shooting….
So I think what broke Washington was the realization, on the part of much of the Republican party, especially its far right flank, that there would never be any negative consequences for anything it did, no matter how irresponsible and, yes, treasonous. Both sides do it, and if you do it harder, then that just proves this is a center-right nation. So why not default on the debt?