Kevin Drum takes up a repeated theme: GOP to Country: Drop Dead:
We’ve talked before about the Republican genius for taking advantage of political norms that have traditionally been followed by both parties but have never been actual rules. This has produced a growing list of partisan ambushes like mid-decade redistricting, turning the Senate into a 60-vote body, holding the debt ceiling hostage, etc. So what’s the next norm to be flattened by the GOP steamroller in a surprise attack? In what must be a new record, Stan Collender writes today about two norms that Republicans have crushed into dust in a single week.
First up is a letter from the Republican leadership to Ben Bernanke that ominously warns him to “resist further extraordinary intervention in the U.S. economy.” This comes on the same day that the IMF slashed its estimate of economic growth for 2011 and 2012 to an almost recession-like 1.5% — precisely the time that the Fed probably should carry out a few extraordinary interventions in the economy.
The Fed, of course, is traditionally supposed to be left free of political influence. But there’s an election coming up and, as Stan puts it, the GOP sees economic hardship “as the path to election glory this November”.
If, by some freak coincidence, I were a member of the Federal Reserve, I’d take this letter from Boehner et alia as a calculated insult, and I’d respond by taking the most extraordinary measures possible. Not because that’s the best response to an insult, but because we’re in extraordinary economic straits, and only extraordinary measures will salvage the economy. The only reason not to take those measures is fear of being seen as politicizing the Fed, but look! Boehner and gang just announced they’ll politicize the Fed no matter what. So intervene!
Of course, I’m not a member of the (under-staffed) Fed, and the actual members may be less enthusiastic than I am about pissing in the eyes of Boehner, Cantor, McConnell, and Kyl.