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% â 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.
Contraiwise, thumbing their noses at Congress is practically an invitation for Congress to exercise its lawmaking power to remove the Fed's independence once and for good.
Institutional survival instinct must be screaming "keep your head down!"
This may, in the long run, get interesting. Every trick, gimmick, and transgression of historic norms of political behavior, is being recorded. It is a fact of life that little that has been done in the last fifty years is not recorded somewhere. And the depth and breadth of the historic record has only expanded. And in the last twenty years it has all been made searchable, online, by anyone.
The point here is that nothing the GOP does will be unrecorded, or forgotten. Violating the rule book of gentlemanly understandings they are writing the rule book of tomorrow. These tactics, so shocking and effective now, are being adopted by all parties.
It is all well and good to be cowboys armed with guns outnumbered by indians armed with bows and arrows. But what happens when the indians get guns?
The core of the GOP is old and white while the nation is slowly becoming young and brown. Outnumbered by young brown folks who are disinclined to adopt GOP policies, and armed with all the dirty tricks and lack of respect for social and political norms the GOP has shown, could end up with the GOP having their own Last Stand, outnumbered and surrounded by a foe with the same, or better, technology.
The GOP will, of course, then shift to self-righteous cries for civility and respectful observance of the historic rules of decorum and civility. What goes around ...
The GOP will, of course, then shift to self-righteous cries for civility and respectful observance of the historic rules of decorum and civility.
Then? Art, you're not paying attention. They've been complaining about rudeness and all that for years now. I mean, it was just this week that the Speaker of the House (with a totally straight face ), lectured everyone on how "my way or the highway" is not acceptable.
And it works, too.
 Great stuff, Botox.