It's been a week of Republicans In Disarray news, what with their little witch hunt turning into an 11-hour Clinton campaign infomercial and Paul Ryan holding out about 24 hours before caving to the demands of the Freedom caucus. Meanwhile, Trump and Carson continue to lead in the polls, while the Establishment candidates are all in single-digits. Can't anybody here play this game?
So with all this delicious Schadenfreude, why am I so gloomy?
Because as Steve points out repeatedly, Republicans are almost never punished for anything. Because perversely, Republicans' failure to govern often winds up working to their political advantage. Because there is a non-trivial probability that within the next year this will be demonstrated in apocalyptic fashion.
Less than two weeks before we hit the debt ceiling, there's no clear path to raising it. And as hilarious as Paul Ryan's fail may be, it just makes things that much more difficult, since he'll be as much a hostage to the Freedom Caucus as Boehner was. Maybe someone can see how this plays out without a default, but I can't.
And if there is a default, it won't be the Republicans who get punished. Sure, they'll get some bad press for a while. There'll be scolding editorials, maybe even calls from constituents. And...not much more.
But the longer-term economic consequences--we know who'll pay for that. If default throws us into a recession, if we're in a recession a year from now, the weakest Republican will beat the strongest Democrat. The GOP will strengthen their hold on Congress, and finally take the White House. At which point it's game over. All Dark. Forever.
And the Republicans incompetence or deliberate sabotage (likely both) will end up achieving what a billion dollars of Koch money couldn't.
That's my recurring nightmare. Someone, anyone, tell me I'm wrong about this. Please.