The Craziest Party May Have An Edge In This Game Of Chicken

The Democrats and Republicans are playing a dangerous game of chicken with the economy. Democrats are (correctly) taking the attitude that the Republicans have forced us into this position and they are not going to negotiate over what any sane political party would do. We should not have to give concessions to Republicans in order to prevent them from crashing the economy. Ronald Reagan didn’t question raising the debt ceiling. There may have been some political posturing in the past, but nobody has taken it to this extreme. We have not had a shut down when the Democrats controlled Congress.

The Republicans do have one advantage in this game of chicken. The party which appears the craziest generally wins. Democrats can’t beat Republicans if it comes down to a battle over who is craziest.

In a more traditional game of chicken, if two cars are heading into an intersection, the driver who throws the steering wheel out the window wins. Democrats found in the past that it was a mistake to give concessions to the Republicans over the debt limit, and they must hope that the Republicans believe they will not negotiate and back down. Republicans are countering by being the party crazy enough to throw the steering wheel out the window. It is hard to tell how much of this is true ignorance by Republicans as to how the economy works and to what degree it is a bluff on their part.

Brian Beutler described the actions of the “right-wing nutjobs” at Salon. David Weigel described how the Republicans are in denial about the effects of their actions. Again, is this bluffing in a game of chicken or ignorance about how modern economies actually work? Steve Benen gave several examples of the ignorance of Republican members of Congress. The National Memo described Tea Party Debt Truthers. With that in mind, perhaps LOLGOP has the most accurate take on the state of the GOP: “Tea Partiers have decided that the debt limit is like climate change, the benefits of early childhood education or the female orgasm — a complete hoax.”

Fortunately this is not a true game of chicken. The consequences extend into the next election, and hopefully voters are paying attention.

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