Have you ever watched a game of chicken? Some of us geezers automatically think of the one in that James Dean movie, Rebel Without a Cause. In the case of the debt ceiling, though, two cars driving side by side towards a cliff really isn't the right metaphor. To me, two cars driving on a collision course down a single lane road with brick walls to each side seemed more apropos. It isn't possible for just one of them to step on the brakes and bail out. Either both chicken out or both wipe out.
Then along came that canny little bastard, Mitch McConnell, with a neat idea for creating an exit ramp for the Republicans — a ramp that would allow the Republicans to duck out of the way while Obama drives the country off a cliff and ensures a Republican victory in 2012. There's just one little problem with the McConnell plan.
What if there's no cliff? The Republicans would have chickened out, the economy wouldn't be significantly crappier (albeit still quite crappy), and Obama probably could go on to win another term. Nobody actually knows what a second Obama term would look like, but I'm not betting on a great flowering of liberalism. I figure it will be the same corporatist crap, just minus the worst of the supply side bullshit.
If both parties still are obeying their corporate overlords, McConnell's plan is likely to be the one that flies. It will take a few days for House Republicans to figure out which of them can get away with voting for it and which of them get to beat their chests and vote "no," but it can pass. (Expect, of course, a very close vote.)
Those of us old enough to remember the James Dean movie cannot help but feel a bit cynical. It's only to be expected.