It started, as so much, with the Bush Administration. Or perhaps they were just the first to admit it.
The aide said that guys like me were ''in what we call the reality-based community,'' which he defined as people who ''believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.'' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. ''That's not the way the world really works anymore,'' he continued. ''We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality...."
So perhaps it's not surprising that the breathtakingly unaware Republicans in Congress simply don't believe what they are told. Time Magazine, in an article entitled, Can Republicans Overcome Their Alternate Reality to Strike A Debt Deal?, remarks
At first blush, House Republicans’ dismissal of overwhelming evidence from a bipartisan crop of experts seems staggering. ... Democrats believe that the Republican Party’s antipathy toward government, and their members’ perceived mandate to drastically shrink the budget, has clouded their ability to appraise the severity of the situation. And Democrats are clearly baffled by the challenge of persuading opponents who not only have a different set of priorities, but a different set of facts. “There’s a question about how much the facts matter to them,” says a Democratic official. “And I don’t know what to do about that.”
It's not just the debt ceiling. They've decided, by inaction, to defund the FAA. You know, the agency that keeps those tin cylinders with wings safely in the air? Because they added to the bill language that would remove funding for 13 small airports specifically in the districts of several Senate Democrats.
The disagreement means the FAA has to furlough as many as 4,000 workers tomorrow and stop collecting about $200 million a week in airplane-ticket and other taxes until it is resolved, U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said yesterday. Air- traffic controllers, considered essential employees, would remain on the job......Steve Benen points out that It's tough to negotiate with crazy."
Baucus and Senator Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, today urged their colleagues to back extension legislation without the rural airports language. Republicans blocked that bill, offered by Baucus and Rockefeller, from a floor vote. Democrats then thwarted Republicans’ attempt to bring Mica’s version to a vote.
Common norms suggest we’re supposed to simply acknowledge that the parties have sincere, philosophical differences. But eventually, I’d love to see the political world come to terms with the fact that Republicans aren’t just being right-wing; they’re also being dumb. I know that’s impolite. I also know it’s justified.
And Jonathan Bernstein tells us that many House Republicans have no clue how the process works.
One really, really important point to remember about House Republicans right now: There’s a very good chance that a whole bunch of them just have no idea what they’re doing. ...Here’s the thing, though — how do you negotiate with people who just have no idea what they’re talking about?John Boehner has no control over his caucus. It's clear that "old style" Republicans are dismayed. They have a tiger by the tail, and no idea how to deal with it. And it's going to pull all of us down with them. Aren't there any grown-ups left in the Republican party?
Picture from the Daily Mail