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The Strangelove Republicans

Why should the public trust a party that governs by recurring manufactured crisis?

Today I heard an update on the radio from the fiscal crisis in Washington, and thought, “The Republicans really are going to push us over the edge.” I hope I’m wrong, of course, but it becomes more thinkable with each passing hour. I thought next about how hard we’ve worked to invest wisely, and to sock money away for retirement. If the world wakes up Thursday morning plunging into a 2008-style economic collapse, we could find our investments massively damaged. Some people we know have only now built their nest eggs back up after the 2008 disaster. We could be looking at that. Or worse.

At least my family doesn’t have to worry about feeding itself. Food stamps in some states are about to be cut off, it appears, absent reopening the government at once. I slammed the Wal-mart food rioters for greed, because that’s exactly what it was. They were no Jean Valjeans. But the government being unable to provide food benefits to poor people because the Republicans will not authorize the money to pay the debts that Congress already incurred? That’s a different story.

Joe Carter, an Evangelical who is nobody’s idea of a liberal, has a post up on the free-market Acton Institute blog saying that Christians ought to oppose the GOP in this matter. Excerpt:

The Bible is clear that when an individual incurs a debt they are required, to the best of their ability, to pay what they owe. But does this same principle apply to governments?

Because of the differences in roles and responsibilities not all principles that apply to the individual apply to the state. However, it seems clear this is one principle that clearly applies to both.

In our form of government we elect representatives to act in our behest, including taking on contractual debt obligations. We may not agree with either the levels of spending or the priorities, but these legislators have been duly elected to incur debts on our behalf that we – or our grandchildren — must pay.For this reason, I believe as Christians we should not refuse to pay for the legal obligations that we have authorized.

In policy terms this means we have two general choices: we can raise the debt limit and borrow money needed to cover our shortfall or we can immediately raise taxes in order to generate the revenues necessary to pay the government’s bills.

Member of Congress who are refusing to raise the debt ceiling (or raise taxes) until their ancillary demands are met are acting immorally, since they are refusing to pay the debts they themselves authorized. Hopefully, they are only bluffing and have no real intention of throwing the country into a financial crisis. But even if they are lying about their true intentions, they are threatening to act immorally if they don’t get their way. As Christians we should find such behavior unacceptable. The fact that they are representing us makes such an action intolerable.

The Republican Party has driven the country to the brink, and this morning, House Republicans bolstered their ranks by … standing together and singing Amazing Grace. It’s Strangelovian. Maybe there won’t be a long-term fallout from this, but I tell you, it’s very hard to see entrusting power to a party that behaves this way, that manufactures crises like this for its own short-term political gain. The Republicans, having lost their mind, have destroyed their brand.

Amazing Grace. They cause this looming disaster — which, make no mistake, would be a global disaster — and then stand there singing a freaking hymn amid the ruins of their party, and the potential crash of our economy! Raving loonies, the lot. Josh Barro is right:

Can you imagine the situation this country would be in if Republicans controlled both houses of Congress right now? Or if we had a President whose administration gets jerked around by Heritage Action in the same way that House Republicans do? It would be a trainwreck, and “reasonable” Republicans like Nunes would still be on television saying they understand it’s a trainwreck, but by golly, operationally, they had no way to stop it.

There is no serious argument for Republican governance right now, even if you prefer conservative policies over liberal ones. These people are just too dangerously incompetent to be trusted with power.

Yes. I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I hope the House flips to the Democrats in 2014, so we can be rid of these nuts. Let Ted Cruz sit in the Senate stewing in his precious bodily fluids, and let Washington get back to the business of governing.