In his column today Paul Krugman is abundantly justified in labeling the GOP a crazy, paranoid, Frankensteinian monster of modern impolitics; indeed many prominent "conservatives," both inside and outside of Congress, now wear the epithets with no inconsiderable pride. The party, the movement, nearly the whole lousy bunch have morphed crisis by self-imposed crisis into a grinning vanity of lunacy.
But Krugman errs, I think, in signing on to what has become the left's easy, self-satisfied consensus opinion of uniform evil in the GOP House:
The latest news is that John Boehner, the speaker of the House, has abandoned his efforts to craft a face-saving climbdown on the budget, which means that we’re all set for shutdown, possibly followed by debt crisis.
Quite the contrary, it seems. Boehner is attempting to ram a dose of political reality down the tea party caucus' throat--and in a shrewd, face-saving manner: Go ahead, have your vote, have your way, and then we in the House, as he said yesterday at a press conference, will have already won. The burden to then do something more will be on the Senate. And since Boehner knows the Senate will do nothing but return a clean CR, well, then and there Boehner will stand, reduced, in that fresh reality, to introducing a full House vote. Nonetheless the crazies will have "already won." It's akin to a you-can't-fire-us-we-quit strategy.
I mention all this (again) only to note the danger of GroupThink--not that of the right's, which is screamingly obvious, but that of the left's. In the last 48 hours or so I've read and heard "progressive" commentator after progressive commentator declare with immeasurable confidence that John Boehner has caved to the crazies. Yet it appears beneath the surface that he's doing precisely the opposite: Boehner's bamboozling the crazies.
Many of these lefty commentators probably know better. However it's dangerous out there--out there in cable news' bedlam and the competitive blogosphere--to utter tribally unauthorized observations. So they pile on. Because the piling on is what the lefty base wants to hear--which is how the right began its journey to craziness, paranoia, and Frankensteinian monstrousness.