August 11, 2011 Leave a comment
Hard to argue with Chait’s (depressing) conclusion to expect more debt ceiling hostage taking because it worked so well for Republicans. We already knew that from a policy perspective, but the public opinion angle makes this all the more so:
So first the House Republicans held the debt ceiling hostage. It’s utterly clear that this which caused S&P to downgrade U.S. debt…
The reasons for the downgrade may be shaky, but that’s neither here nor there. S&P got freaked out by the hostage drama and decided to downgrade the debt.
But, of course, Republicans aren’t going to say that they caused the downgrade. They’re going to blame the Democrats, as parties do. And the news media isn’t going to take sides in this. We’re going to get a shouting match. Indeed, even the liberal Daily Show presented it as a childish shouting match in which neither side was right: [emphasis mine]
End result: Republicans get concessions, and when the consequences for their decision hurt everyone, the blame is spread equally. If you can use hostage tactics and walk away with both a ransom and everybody blaming you and the ransom-payer equally, why not do it again?
Damn you Jon Stewart– you should know better. And, of course, it seems that Republicans are much more of this dynamic of how modern political media work and consistently use it to their advantage.