Some debt ceiling comic relief, courtesy of Jonathan Chait and Jennifer Rubin


    Just a quick break, sort of, from debt ceiling drudgery, as we await the vote on the House of Representatives and the beginning of the end of John Boehner’s tenure as Speaker …

    Those of us here at Blue Virginia are quite familiar with Jennifer Rubin by now. I don’t even bother to read her stuff any more, much less try to comment on it, mainly because her commentary typically consists of mindless repetition of right-wing talking points, and so a response seems like a waste of time. In this sense, Rubin is Ann Coulter, but without the entertainment value.

    But occasionally, Rubin attempts to write something original, and when she does the results can be hilarious. When this happens, her work is just a hanging curve ball in the upper part of the strike zone, and her fellow professional bloggers sometimes cannot help but swing at the pitch.

    Today, Jonathan Chait at The New Republic provides an awesome takedown of her soon-to-be classic column yesterday on the brilliance of the Boehner Plan, which was entitled, “Ten things that happen if the Boehner plan goes through.”

    (more on the flip)

    Among other things, Chait notes the only reason Ms. Rubin may have stopped at ten reasons was because “Rubin ran out of fingers.”

    For some context, here are several of the ten things imagined by Rubin:

    — The Boehner bill becomes the inevitable solution to the crisis. (aznew: Never mind that the Senate made clear it would kill the legislation.)

    — The rap on the Tea Party that it is incapable of governing will be proven false. (aznew: Seriously? One of the faces of the Tea Party throughout this crisis, Congressman Joe Walsh (R – Deadbeat), can’t even pay his child support, much less govern the United States of America.)

    — The rap that the Republicans are divided between the Tea Party and everyone else will be disproven as well. (aznew: Uh, a little late for that!)

    Anyway, please read the whole thing. It is worth it.

    But Chait goes a bit further and provides some interesting analysis. Noting that Rubin thinks Boehner’s plan is brilliant, Chait points out that Ms. Rubin also thought the McConnell Plan (which was leaked to the press through Rubin), which in many ways was diametrically opposed to the Boehner proposal in that it had no expense cuts whatsoever and, in effect, gave Obama a free hand to raise the debt ceiling, was also brilliant, or, as Chait put it, “too brilliant for its critics to understand.”

    Chait observes:

    Yet here is the odd thing. McConnell’s plan is extremely different than Boehner’s. McConnell extends the debt ceiling past the 2012 election without any required policy changes. Boehner does not extend the debt ceiling past the 2012 election, but does require substantial spending cuts plus a panel to propose additional deficit reduction. How can both of these be such wonderful ideas?

    Indeed, it makes me wonder just what Rubin would consider the best possible plan. What if we took the longer debt ceiling extension from McConnell’s plan and paired it with the immediate spending cuts from Boehner’s plan? That would be, like, some ultra-super-perfect hybrid, right?

    And Chait’s kicker:

    Except there is a plan like that. Harry Reid proposed it. But Rubin has denounced it as a “sham.”

    As a columnist, Ms. Rubin is what she is. She dutifully repeats right-wing talking points and, when called upon, serves her Republican masters by not only uncritically presenting Republican legislative proposals leaked to her, but also actively cheerleading for such materials. That said, in her role as a Republican tool she will from time-to-time actually provide a significant news scoop, such as when McConnell leaked his plan through her, so she needs to be recognized for that.

    But even in those cases when she gets the scoop, her efforts at commentary are, as Chait notes, laughable. And it really is a shame, because as a Washington Post columnist and all the power and influence that status provides, Rubin is a unique position to provide substantial, meaningful and thoughtful Conservative comment.

    We will now return you to your regularly scheduled debt ceiling blogging.


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