Diplomatic channels are narrowing, ambassadors are being recalled, groping communiqués are taking on grim colorations, and menacing ultimatums are no doubt being drafted. Mobilization cannot be far off.
Yet those irrepressible optimists at the White House see a "possible path" to peace--that of "restart[ing] talks with Congress on an overarching agreement that would lock in deficit reduction through additional revenue, changes to entitlement programs and more spending cuts, to be worked out by the relevant committees in Congress. But this time, those talks might start in the Senate." Another example of generals always fighting, or preparing to fight, the last war.
Yes, the Senate, where easygoing, carefree, life-of-his-party Mitch McConnell yesterday re-declared "that Republicans view the debt ceiling increase as an 'immediate opportunity' to achieve significant spending cuts." No mention was made, it should go without mentioning, of "additional revenue." Meanwhile, over at the House, an aide to you-can't-fire-me-'cause-I'm-done-talking Speaker Boehner said "As far as we're concerned, the tax issue is off the table."
Are we sensing a theme here?
That theme, though, isn't what worries most, although a spending-cut spree in the bloody aftermath of perpetual, lower-revenue maximization is troubling enough. No, what convulsively worries is nothing much new; it's little to do with the cloven-footed cliff deal's fiscal specifics. It has to re-do, rather, with Republicans' Nietzschean-inflated cajones and profoundly nihilistic will to power, while their chief opposition persists in deluding itself that it's negotiating with the Grand Old Party.