It's perhaps the greatest irony among many seething in the cesspool of congressional dysfunction and teabaggery currently masquerading as governance: as the shutdown lingers on and default looms, American "exceptionalism," that oft-used and misunderstood (probably, in part, because it has no meaning) phrase, will be the ultimate victim of Cruzian catastrophizing.
In fact, no matter what the outcome of the hostage-taking and extortion, it's pretty clear the rest of the world is beginning to realize we can be counted on no more.
In Britain, Jon Cunliffe, who will become deputy governor of the Bank of England next month, told members of Parliament that banks should be developing contingency plans to deal with an American default if one happens.
And Chinese leaders called on a “befuddled world to start considering building a de-Americanized world.” In a commentary on Sunday, the state-run Chinese news agency Xinhua blamed “cyclical stagnation in Washington” for leaving the dollar-based assets of many nations in jeopardy. It said the “international community is highly agonized.”
Besides which, beyond mere perceptions, there's the truth of it as well: we're affected too much by people who regard science as evil and education as some sort of fey silliness that liberals do, a thing to be laughed at. To the extent that the world might remain "Americanized," if teabaggRs have their way, it'll only be in military might. Which is useful, I suppose, as long as we keep on invading someplace once in a while. But in terms of invention, leadership in education, innovation, and, even, to the extent that it might have been true, moral leadership; not so much. Not anymore.
No one, not even a Cruzopalinesque teabagger, could deny that if relative powers were reversed and if Ds demanded gun control, for example, when they couldn't achieve legislatively, as ransom for keeping the military running, Rs would be pissing in their teapots and the folks over at Fox would be doing a Jonesian face-melt.
I have email conversations with people who call themselves conservatives and who are happy as this over the R tactics. I've posited the opposite-party situation to them and, surprisingly, have never heard back. Legislation by extortion. It's come to this: complete abandonment of democratic principles, and self-described conservatives can't think past first base about it.
I'm certain I'd be as appalled if Ds were doing this as I am as Rs do it; on the other hand, it's easy to say, because I'd be willing to bet what remains of my soul that I'll never see it happen.