I'm taking the liberty to reprint this (in toto and without permission) as a public service to those of you who do not get the New York Times. It can be found at http://www.nytimes.com/2011/07/27/opinion/27wed2.html?ref=opinion
New York Times
July 26, 2011
A Denial of Reality
How can so many Republican lawmakers justify pushing their country toward catastrophic default just to score ideological points? The answer can be found in their statements and writings: They are constructing an alternative reality far different from that of most Americans.
A large number of Republican lawmakers, for example, simply don’t accept that the United States is going to be in default as of Tuesday. (Wall Street banks say the nation will run out of money within a few days of that date.)
The Treasury Department, which keeps the government bankbook, set the Aug. 2 deadline, but they say it cannot be trusted because it is an arm of the Obama administration. Representative Joe Walsh, a freshman from Illinois, recorded an instantly notorious video in which he accused President Obama of “lying” about the dangers of default. “There’s plenty of money to pay off our debt and cover all of our Social Security obligations,” he said, without saying where all these billions might be hidden.
Representative Michele Bachmann, the Tea Partier running for president, went even further, saying there would be no default at all because the government would always find a way to pay the interest on its debt. Her level of disbelief in any statement made by the White House is so complete that she disregarded the possibility that the global financial system could impose its own devastating downgrade on the government’s obligations.
Mrs. Bachmann’s denial of economic reality puts her at the far-right end of the House, alongside eight other Republicans who voted against the “Cut, Cap and Balance Act” last week because it was too liberal. More typical are those who are sticking by that bill and its balanced-budget amendment, though the Senate effectively rejected it.
Jim Jordan of Ohio, who leads an influential group of House conservatives, said he is willing to go down with the cut, cap and balance ship even if default is the only option, since he, too, is not persuaded that the Treasury is telling the truth. He and several members of his Republican Study Committee said Tuesday they could not support Speaker John Boehner’s watered-down version of “cut, cap,” because it does not require passage of a balanced-budget amendment before the debt ceiling can go up.
(In Mr. Boehner’s alternative reality, by the way, it just popped into Mr. Obama’s head to ask for “the largest debt increase in American history, on the heels of the largest spending binge in American history.” The president was required to ask for an increase by law, and the spending was mostly incurred by his Republican predecessor.)
Mr. Jordan’s words offered one of the best explanations of the House’s determination to beat Mr. Obama at any cost. A former state champion wrestler, he told The National Review that in politics you pin your opponent whenever possible. “We want to get the win now,” he said.
House members have been encouraged in their destructive daydream by many outside organizations and Web sites. An arm of the Heritage Foundation sent out a letter Tuesday saying the government should live under the current debt ceiling rather than pass the Boehner plan, ignoring the need to raise the ceiling to pay for bills already incurred. Several right-wing bloggers, notably Erick Erickson of RedState, have threatened brimstone on any errant Republican lawmaker who even considers compromise with the president.
If the economy does begin to crumble next week, the trail back toward the reason will not be hard to follow.