Zero-Cost Antics

Via FrumForum, fun stuff from the Washington Post:

Asked for single-word characterizations of the budget negotiations, the top words in the poll — conducted in the days before an apparent deal was struck — were “ridiculous,” “disgusting” and “stupid.” Overall, nearly three-quarters of Americans offered a negative word; just 2 percent had anything nice to say.

“Ridiculous” was the most frequently mentioned word among Democrats, Republicans and independents alike. It was also No. 1 in an April poll about the just-averted government shutdown. In the new poll, the top 27 words are negative ones, with “frustrating,” “poor,” “terrible,” “disappointing,“ “childish,” “messy” and “joke” rounding out the top 10.

Let’s tie this into our recent discussions of how the media reports the news:

You shouldn’t have to follow politics obsessively to know the objective fact that the Republican Party is full of resentments but devoid of policy views, while the Democratic Party is a centrist, empiricist, reactive party.

Alas, that’s what our media demands of its consumers.

rule #1 of MSM punditry is that critiquing the choreography and possible electoral consequences & motivations of political actors always takes precedence over policy consequences. (Rule #2: “Both sides are too extreme.” This rule holds regardless of how many sides there are, and regardless of how extreme any given sides actually are).

Republicans have been blatantly and unrelentingly unreasonable for the better part of a decade or three. Walker claims blithely that they “look[] unreasonable to independents” because of the debt ceiling, but I kind of doubt that’s true. People live busy lives; they shouldn’t have to pore over press statements and newspaper articles in order to determine that the GOP is engaged in an insane, perhaps unconstitutional jihad to crater federal spending for no good reason.

What’s more, if you rely only on the best, most respected newspapers in the country for your news, you probably still don’t realize that’s what’s going on. Newspapers long ago abandoned reporting accurate facts for reporting what press people from “both sides” say. 

So, yes, “Washington” looks silly and bad. But we know that people have better stuff to do than to parse out exactly who’s doing what in Washington, and that whoever’s holding the presidency gets punished for a weak economy.

In that context– and given that, as we know from the past decade-plus, that Republicans have no policy beliefs, just partisanship– they have every incentive to continue to take hostages and almost blow up the world, over and over again, as long as there’s a Democrat in the White House.

The takeaway, from Mose Allison:

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