I’ve been reading through your responses to my question below about whether the country is prepared for a full-on government shutdown or is at all aware it might be coming. Lots of fascinating answers. But TPM Reader PJ’s email caught my attention because in addition to addressing that question I think he captures some of the present — dare I say it — malaise of the moment, at least for a large cross-section of the political nation …
I think the dominant reaction is going to be a straining on the part of people to understand the issue, yielding to eventual frustration with the GOP as the parameters of the governing crisis become clear, yielding no lasting outcome on the system because of gerrymandering and the distance in months from the next Congressional election.
I’m a high-information voter who reads a newspaper every morning and checks blogs/Twitter on the train, etc., and I’m pretty tired of national news right now. Why?
1. Syria. People don’t know what the hell to think about this. In most offices, the dominant political story of the day pops up in conversations here and there. Nobody is talking about Syria, because all the choices suck and the rationale for participating is such an elite one (“send a message about the rules of war.”) Huh? So we’ve just spent a couple of weeks angsting over invading (but not too much, and certainly not with ground troops) a country in the middle of its own civil war, to convey our displeasure that people died one way but not another. And then we get:
2. The Navy Yard shooting. I’m a not a gun person. But I know that any sensible limits (read David Frum’s comments since yesterday) on gun purchases or utilization are beyond feasible with our gerrymandered-to-safety GOP house and filibuster-glued Senate. So I’m sad for the victims and resigned and down on the policy implications. Most pro-do-whatever-I-want-with-my-gun folks know in their heart of hearts that they have this in the bag, so they get to be a mixture of smug that they win on policy, sad for the Navy Yard victims, disappointed that they weren’t there and packing to go John Wayne on the shooter, and they’re still fearful that Obama will somehow get their guns. Nobody’s happy.
So the two dominant stories are about sad situations built around limited bad choices, intractable differences, and now we have to go into parliamentary arcana on the debt ceiling and how that is a different maneuver than actually voting for a law that requires revenue to fund? Who wants to follow this story other than Beltway media types?
Pass the popcorn and let’s see if the GOP blinks before Obama tells Bernanke to smelt a trillion dollar platinum coin and we stagger forward another year and do this again! On second thought, let’s just go play with our kids outside; the weather’s beautiful.
Unless the stock market falls off a cliff, the media will cover this breathlessly while 80% of the country shrugs.