Jul

29

 As a golfer the Speaker of the House is clearly Lee Trevino. He is the only one of our present leaders who comes from "the people" - i.e. the vast majority whose families had little, if any, capital. Cantor, Pelosi, Reid and Obama all has the rough places in their upbringings made smooth by money and influence. Let's leave aside the question of the substance of the present political debate. What choice do we have when you consider that a 2% across-the-board cut in the current expenditures of the Federal government would be scored by the "non-partisan Congressional Budget Office" as a "Cut of $13 to $14 trillion". It seems to me that Boehner has successfully portrayed himself as someone who is barely hanging onto control of his caucus and that the Democrats will have to take whatever he proposes - even if it leaves the matters of the Debt and the Deficits to come up again next year during the election season.

"I'm going to win so much money this year, my caddie will make the top twenty money winner's list."

Gary Rogan writes:

I don't think it's easy to deduce what Boehner's real goal is. He has been recently accused by serious people in engaging in a charade to not really cut spending but to appear eager to do so. In this line of thought, this charade involves a pretend tug of war between his plan and Reid's. I don't really know whose side he is on or what his game is. If anyone knows, please post. I do think that the participants have differing goals, to some degree, but the overall framing is a complete con.

Vince Fulco writes:

So with this intensifying impasse, how do both groups walk away saving face and claiming victory? I guess only in the political world can one fool themselves that that can be done. Next few days should be rich with opportunities…

Kim Zussman adds: 

see: Brinkmanship

Gary Rogan replies:

Clearly the resolution is not predictable in any meaningful sense by those without the maximum access to information, and probably not even by those with it. Even the simplest game of chicken ends in three possible ways, and this game is more like a game where hundreds of participants are racing along multiple highways towards the center of the city, where the center is marked by a huge piece of concrete. If anyone hits the concrete, they all lose. While on the highway, they have to keep moving at roughly the same speed (assuming the distances are similar). They can swerve individually, or keep moving. There are no other choices. The game is complicated by the following:

-In this game, unlike an actual collision nobody dies even when they all lose. So the stakes for each participant are lower.
-Some participants believe that they can actually gain if the "loss" occurs.
-The stakes are also very different for each individual participant and are not fully known to the outside observers.
-Each participant may be communicating with any number of other participants, again not fully observable.
-The participants are forming fluid coalitions not fully observable by the outside observers via multiple communications channels.
-Many of the participants are in constant communication with multiple outside stakeholders who have enormous stakes in the outcome, and variable ability to influence the participants. All participants can hear the "roar of the crowd".

-Some of the participants are engaged in very public communication to the outside world through varying media channels. A large percentage of the participants are engaged in trying to misrepresent the pressures they are feeling and their real estimates of both the chances of the loss occurring and its consequences.

-There are points gained by having the "right" reason for not to swerving. The scoring is done both in real time and many months after the game is over. Observers can materially hurt the participant in a number of ways months after the race.
-There are points for appearing cooperative and there are also point for appearing uncooperative. Different observers have different rules, and they are unclear.
-The observers are under constant barrage by the media trying to shape their opinions about the race.
-Some participants took a pledge to never swerve under any circumstances.

-There are multiple disagreements about the distance to the center.
-"Losing" or "winning" without the right side-agreement will eventually result in the whole city being nuked (again figuratively, because nobody except a few unfortunate observers really dies, but many suffer a great deal of discomfort).

I can go on for a while, but I am not really shedding any light other than illustrating that trying to predict an outcome of something like this is futile. It's much more complicated than the Cuban missile crisis. On a side note, the Cuban missile crisis could have resulted in the nuclear war through a little known sequence of events when the captain of a severely damaged Russian submarine under extreme stress from almost unimaginably horrible environment inside the submarine and being pursued and bombarded by the Americans with training depth charges, and with the submarine secretly equipped with a nuclear-tipped torpedo was ready to order for that torpedo to be launched. He was talked out of it by a single member of the crew. It's the little known things that count.

 


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