THE BOY WHO CRIED MANUFACTURED DRAMA

Posted in Quick Hits on February 27th, 2013 by Ed

Having somehow survived the harrowing twin ordeals of the Debt Ceiling and the Fiscal Cliff, it is with stoic hearts that we stare down the gaping maw of the Sequester. Now that we've been down the "OMG there's a deadline and this is such a crisis!" road a few times the script feels pretty uninspired – the cable news coverage (with clocks counting backward menacingly), the grandstanding legislators, the screaming lobbyists, the grave punditry, and the USA Today-style graphics, all leading up to a last minute "compromise" that will be lauded by all and sundry. It seems like the Great Sequestration Showdown of '13 just hasn't gripped the viewing public with the same intensity as previous installments of this drama. Or perhaps that's just me editorially projecting my own staggering lack of interest in seeing yet another iteration of this tired dog-and-pony show.

This makes me feel guilty, as I know this is important. Not only am I supposed to find this interesting, I am also responsible for convincing young tuition-paying people that it is interesting. The problem is…it isn't. This is a pattern; a new normal of Republican brinksmanship in which the party shouts "Do as I say or I'll shoot!" while pressing a gun to its own temple. Despite the Tea Party-led chants ("Pull the trigger! Pull the trigger!") they will chicken out at the last second. The Democrats, given what they have become, will give them half of what they want anyway, because Bipartisanship and Good Faith and Cookies. And we will end up with more bad policy, another bill designed to shower money on people who are important while also making Tough Choices and cutting spending to show that we are Serious People. Being neither all one thing nor all the other, it will accomplish nothing.

And not an hour will pass until we are warned in ominous tones of the date of the next looming showdown, hopefully coinciding with the Memorial Day summer blockbuster release schedule. Be still, my heart.