Even “For Example” Is Too Much

Recently in an interview with Speaker Boehner, Brian Williams asked for one example of a program or project Boehner might cut from the federal budget:

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As the Young Turks opine, the question isn’t just plain and fair but entirely predictable, so why not have a staff person provide some examples so that you don’t look foolish?

My answer: You can’t look foolish because no matter what you say, your loyal supporters won’t care, they’ll dislike the interviewer from the get-go, and they’re not looking for specific cuts; they’re indulging in a fantasy of shutting down the government and breaking Obama. Also, if you’ve been handsomely rewarded in your job for doing nothing, why would you do something, even if it’s as simple as providing an example, a cornerstone of informal discussion and debate?

The broader pseudocratic strate-ger-y, unveiled last week, is to take the post-election pose that “we don’t run the government; the Decomcrats do. We’ll let Obama lead and suggest cuts first.” Call it the Ingrid Bergman strategy: “You’ll have to do the thinking for the both of us, Rick.”

A problem with this strategy would have been, not so many years ago, that it is fatuous, transparent, and contradictory–contradicting the stance in the campaign. It is not a problem anymore: see above.

Even as bad as things are, with voters tolerating everything, there may be a problem: Obama and his team seem to be able to play these sorts of tactical games–just checkers, really–better than Boehner and his team. One easy move is to read the Constitution–out loud, even–you know, the part about Congress, led at least 50% by SPEAKER Boehner and LEADER Boehner, and its responsibility to provide the money from the treasury, that sort of budget gizmo. If it turns into a who-blinks-first game, Clinton showed how win that game with Gingrich, who’s at least as imposing intellectually as Boehner. šŸ˜‰

That said, the main point obtains: Speakers of the House don’t have to provide examples to anyone. You’d think a Tea Party-Goer or three might be ticked off at Boehner for not having an example ready. (Rand Paul, for example, wants to cut the Dept. of Education.) You ‘d think. I’d think. We’d be wrong. The pseudocracy has ascended so completely, that politicians don’t have to–perhaps they even can’t, aren’t equipped to–do what students from K-12 through graduate school still must do: provide examples. It’s now too much to ask, reflects badly on . . . the questioner. If the schtick is working (to be fair to Boehner), why change it? A significant number of people are buying this crap. They don’t feel jobbed when Boehner has no shame–and I’m talking about his supporters.

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