Home > Uncategorized > 2013/10/07: Commentary: Load, Lock, Shoot Foot

2013/10/07: Commentary: Load, Lock, Shoot Foot

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COMMENTARY: Monday, October 7, 2013.

 ABCthisweekBOEHNERnotVOTEinHOUSE-131006

 Load. Lock. Shoot Foot.

No vote in House for ‘clean’ Continuing Resolution.

Is this right? …well, ‘correct’ anyway. It’s definitely Right… as in Speaker Boehner’s crushing need to respect the wishes of the politically well-Right of center Republican Reps in the House.  And this came out in impressive fashion in Sunday’s political talk shows. Huffington Post’s article and many other sources dispute Boehner’s assertion that the votes would not be there in the House for a ‘clean’ Continuing Resolution (and by implication a clean Debt Ceiling hike… the far more critical horizon.)

And in fact, the entire overreach of first demanding a repeal and then shifting to a delay in Obamacare implementation was such a benighted tactic by the political Right, that it’s dimensions are hard to fathom for anyone but the most politically attuned. And as we have recently noted once again, most Americans are not that politically astute or engaged. And most foreigners simply consider a sign of (as we noted in a recent post) ‘political stupidity’ (thanks to the Financial Times’ John Authers for that one.)

As we pondered the extended damaged to what had been a recently resurgent Republican Party (until now), it just gets worse and worse. The Tea Party faction does indeed have some very good ideas for how to evolve a smaller, more efficient government. Yet the tactics of the party leaders they are pushing for results in Washington DC are burying whatever chance the Republicans may have had to achieve further electoral gains.

Which is why we view all of the sound and fury over the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) being bad law implementing bad policy is likely right in the final analysis. All the more reason the overly ardent, yet poorly thought, approach of the Tea Party’s allies in the House and Senate leadership is indeed a case of…

Load. Lock. Shoot Foot.

 

As we have already covered the more major points and humorous asides on the GOP failure in posts last Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, we will constrain ourselves to only expand on those. Yet these additional aspects of that failure are no less important… some even violate some of the basic rules of gamesmanship… more on that below. And we agree with Speaker Boehner “this is not a game.” There are real folks lives and livelihoods being traumatically affected by the government shutdown.

Yet, the way to finesse the goals one wants to achieve in politics does indeed require understanding of how to promote and (for lack of a better word) ‘politic’ your side’s position. And in that aspect of getting results, it is indeed a ‘game’, and the Republicans have been repeatedly outplayed in recent years. Rather than assert any major theory of how they might have done a better job in the political chess match that is Washington DC (that’s more of a book than simple blog post), here are the extended topics now working to the benefit of the Democrats due to the GOP tactical failure.

The Billy Bean Dictum

Okay, a goodly portion of our audience may no have seen the movie Moneyball. In a nutshell it is the story of how major league baseball General Manager Billy Beane took a much smaller budget than most top tier teams and still created a playoff quality team. Along the way in the movie, Beane finds it necessary to speak directly with his oddball assortment of players to motivate and direct them.

The movie has quite a few scenes where Beane is in the training areas of the Oakland A’s stadium providing psychological perspective. And among quite a few other missives on having fun out there and not forcing your play (“…let the game come to you”), there was this total gem…  

When your enemy’s making mistakes, don’t interrupt him.

Looks to us like the Republicans could have used Speaker Beane out there. And that’s with due respect for John Boehner, who got backed into fronting for the right wing of the already Right of center Republicans. Yet, consider for a moment how much was going wrong for the Dems on either a slow burn or explosive recurring cycles in Congressional testimony. That was one of the major advantages the Republicans achieved by gaining a House majority in the 2012 election: they got to appoint the powerful committee chairmen.

So there are folks like Daryl Issa and Trey Gowdy and their kindred spirits who get to push the agenda on investigating so much that the seemingly enlightened Obama administration would rather forget: Benghazi (truly one of the most effective cover-ups in the history of cover ups), IRS discrimination against Right wing political action committees, NSA snooping, and the recent series of tactical blunders on the Syrian situation that turned into the major strategic failure of letting the Russians back in as a major player in a Middle East where they had not held much credible sway for decades. And the list goes on.

All of it weighing on President Obama and the Democrats… and creating further considerable advantage for the Republicans on both a philosophical (i.e. highlighting the excesses of an outsized government)  and practical basis in the further gains they might achieve in the 2014 US by-election. Well, now all anyone can seem to focus on is the budget impasse… basically giving Mr. Obama and the Dems a pass on all that other disturbing stuff.

and then there’s the economy

The pressures from Obamacare were likely having a much more pernicious effect on the US economy that anyone on the Left would care to admit. The permutations of workers having hours cut back to part time so that employers can drop them from the company insurance is a real problem for a lot of folks… that’s spelled ‘consumers’. And even those who maintain full-time employment might find their families dropped from company plans. And had the situation been left to fester (as many of the more astute conservative politicians and commentators had advised), it should have been very clear by later this year that the Affordable Care Act was neither affordable for most families, nor did anybody on the Left in Washington DC necessarily care.

Hey, any grand bit of social engineering is likely to leave a few casualties. And if all those folks have less disposable income because they are now required to purchase health insurance by law (or pay a fine to the IRS), and that weighs on the economy, and businesses get even more defensive (i.e. hire fewer workers) when they see the lower volumes, oh well, the price of success(?!!)  

Yet now, with the US government shutdown as the most visible weight on the economy, the Republicans will take the blame. Or at least a goodly part of it that otherwise could not have been apportioned to them. It is a dead heat right now in the race to the bottom for the ‘Most Despised for Wrecking the Economy’ Award. This is a race where the Republicans could have just stood back and tossed the Democrats an anchor in the form of hearings that focused on all that was wrong with the Democratic Party agenda. Not anymore.

and then there’s the Fed and statistical agencies  

As we have touched on this before, we will be very brief. All the ardent anti-QE folks on the Right really have shot themselves in the foot. They both made Ben Bernanke look very right in his assessment there should be ‘no taper’ of QE back in mid-September in part because of the potential for a government shutdown. Positively clairvoyant!!

And here’s the kicker…

Conclusion

Due to the lack of current economic data collection and compilation and releases, any effective view of how the US economy is actually doing (even allowing for the typical post-release revisions of a lot of the data) won’t have a chance to show up again until at least December. So the right wingers have managed to be hoist by their own petard. In addition to the other obvious weaknesses of their tactics discussed previous, they can now add the major failures of…

…letting the Dems off the hook for any economic weakness, suppressing any interest in the Dems myriad minor and major scandals and geopolitical failures, and empowering the Fed to keep growing its balance sheet at a Buzz Lightyear Bernanke pace to Infinity and Beyond.

Like we said at the outset… Load. Lock. Shoot Foot.

Thanks for your interest.

p.s. As we are just back to blogging after a lengthy hiatus, some of the information on the blog is a bit dated. We will be clearing that up soon, and all of the current critical information (Calendar, Perspective, Technical Projections) is up to date.

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