Friday, February 25, 2011

Crazy-Making Democrats

Wild and Crazy Guys
We already know that the Republican Party has become a bastion of right wing zealots, who, as Paul Krugman points out today, are exploiting the current fiscal crisis to achieve their overarching goals of privatization and union-busting.  We already know that the Republican Party, as Kevin Drum puts it, is more extreme, more united and less compromising than ever before.  We already know that the Republican Party insists on severe cuts in discretionary spending, particularly for social programs, despite clear evidence that this will not just hurt real people but will do damage to the economic recovery.  And, finally, we already know that the Republicans will use the threat of a government shutdown to achieve a large part of their agenda.

And the Democrats?  It is a long-held tenet in the mental health field that when treating a delusional patient, it is important to not challenge their delusions.  Eventually, after gaining the patient's trust and the medication begins to work, a skilled professional can nudge the patient back to reality.  Politics, however, is not psychology, and budget negotiations are a far cry from therapy -- and, in any event, the Republicans don't seem to be medicated or amendable to treatment.  But rather than call out the Republican crazies, President Obama and the Democrats have bought into their delusions. 

As Fuzzyone has pointed out, including in a typically incisive post today, Democrats have adopted Republican talking points about the need for belt-tightening and budget cutting.  They continue do so despite a recently publicized independent report explaining that spending cuts passed by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives would be a drag on the economy and push us back towards a recession. 

President Obama and the Democrats should be arguing that we need more stimulus not less (see Must Read Krugman) and we need to be spending money on infrastructure and not gut vital social programs.  But instead, the Democrats are trying to be "reasonable," proposing to cut billions of dollars from domestic programs in the hope that this will placate the crazy Republicans.  The problem, as we have seen repeatedly, is that once you join the Republicans in their delusional world, there is no possibility of finding a rational accommodation.  What we badly need is a reality check.


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