Normally, watching politics unfold is like watching a movie in which you know that before the last credits are run there will be some kind of acceptable denouement and the fun is watching the characters get there, watching the plot develop.
But this fight over the debt ceiling is turning out to be something else.
Anyone who loves high-level politics, as I do, in a sense loves what’s been going on in Washington the past few weeks. It’s intriguing, entertaining, even compelling. Politics is part art, part science, and part poker.
Mike Viqueira of NBC News reported today that someone from Chicago playfully said to President Obama after an event this morning that he had met him before and that the President owed him a poker game. Obama replied:
I’ve got a high-stakes game of poker going on right now.
Well, not exactly. It’s sort of gone beyond poker. In a poker game, in the end everyone gets up from the table, some as winners, some as losers, or all winning some and losing some and getting the most out of the opportunity. But they all get up.
We need new metaphors now.
Steven Rattner, financier and economic analyst—and the man who helped President Obama rescue the auto industry—was a guest this morning on Morning Joe. He had his own metaphor. He said the following in response to Joe Scarborough’s question as to how the current stalemate can get broken:
I wish I knew. You know, the problem with this is it’s like a form of economic terrorism. I imagine these tea party guys are like strapped with dynamite standing in the middle of times square at rush hour and saying, “You do it my way or we’re going to blow you up, ourselves up, and the whole country up with us.”
So, you tell me how those kinds of standoffs end.
Economic terrorism? Hmm. That can’t end well, can it?