Mr. Sensitive

November 23, 2012

We’re Going Off The Cliff

Filed under: Uncategorized — lbej @ 10:30

Stocks rallied forcefully this week, clawing back much of the post-election swoon.  Investors are increasingly optimistic that the politicians will make a deal to avert a plunge over the fiscal cliff next year, just as I said they would once the window for political grandstanding closed.  I’ve been saying this throughout the summer and fall: the fiscal cliff is nonsense, it won’t happen, the Corporatists will come to terms with the Democrats and the Apocalypse Party will be left hoping the Mayans deliver the disaster they’re otherwise denied.  The market is coming around to that view…but now I’m not so sure.

House Speaker Boehner is acting crazy right now, and that’s a really bad sign.  First he says Obamacare is the law of the land; then he backtracks and says parts of the law need to be changed; then he backtracks even further and recommits to full repeal.  None of this backtracking is consistent with what the majority of Americans voted for two weeks ago; it’s a desperate attempt to hold the Corporatist and Apocalypse parties together in a single Republican caucus.  It won’t work, and Boehner has to know that.  Even so, it would have been fine for him to say he’s not changing his stance on Obamacare because of the election, and it would have been fine to hold yet another meaningless House vote for repeal.  But to insist now, out of the blue, that Obamacare needs to be part of the fiscal cliff negotiations is senseless.  It’s a non-starter, and Boehner knows it; the Democrats are in a stronger position now than at any point since 2009, the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate, and public support for the law is trending against the Republicans.   The only reason for Boehner to float this nonsense in public is to try and hold his party together.  It won’t work.  This ugly, Rovian version of the Republican Party is done; the election proved that to those Republicans who still base any of their decisions on evidentiary proof.  The prevailing demographic and socio-economic trends are poison for the Republicans, as the party is now constituted, and at this rate they have until redistricting at the end of the decade to change course or become the Whig Party of the 21st Century.  The Corporatists have to jettison the Pockies and their hate-based social agenda, but I don’t know if they have the guts to make that decisive move and then spend the time in the electoral wilderness it would entail.  I’m afraid Boehner may believe he has to indulge the lunatics in his caucus one last time—taking us off the cliff and incurring the wrath of the American people in the process—in order to convince the rest of his Corporatist brethren that the alliance with the Pockies isn’t worth it.  The market isn’t pricing in that kind of intra-party brinksmanship; if I’m right, we’re in for an ugly December.

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