More Chicken Games

More than half of House Republicans say they are prepared to take the debt hostage and shut down the government to force the White House to make cuts in entitlement programs. The President says he’s not playing that game. If the House wants to trash the economy, it’s on them.

The tough talk was largely cheered by the left. As for the right, Paul Waldman says,

As any parent knows, when your children are young, you have one distinct advantage over them: you’re smarter than they are. It won’t be that way forever, but if it comes down to an argument, using words, with a six-year-old, you’re probably going to win. Faced with this disadvantage, children often resort to things like repeating the thing they’ve already said a hundred more times, or stomping their feet. Which brings us, of course, to the House Republicans. …

…I think by now all of us, including President Obama, know that these people are serious. But when they say “serious,” they don’t actually mean that they want to seriously confront the nation’s problems without getting distracted by trivial concerns. That’s not the kind of serious they’re talking about. When they say they’re serious and they want Obama’s attention, they mean it in the way that a suicide bomber is serious and wants attention.

See also Kevin Drum, GOP to Press: Obama Must Help Save Us From Our Own Crazy People and George Packer, Southern Discomfort.