Different Cliff-Dwellers

There are, as you probably know, quite a few progressives who don’t particularly fear the so-called “fiscal cliff,” mainly because they don’t think the most contentious issue, an increase on the top marginal tax rates to the levels of the Clinton administration, will much harm the economy at all.

But it’s worth noting that some conservatives who don’t particularly fear the so-called “fiscal cliff” actually do think it would be instantly and massively damaging to the economy, and actually hope for that so long as Democrats get blamed. As is often the case, Pat Buchanan is the chief spokesman for Calamity Enthusiasts:

If you believe higher tax rates or tax revenues would be like poisoning an already weak economy, why would you collaborate in administering that poison? Why not just say no?

Having lost the presidency and seats in both houses, Republicans should not partner with a president with whom they disagree on principle.

They should act as the loyal opposition in a parliamentary system whose duty it is to oppose, to offer an alternative agenda and to wait upon the success or failure of the government, as Labor is doing in Britain and the conservatives are doing in France.

Minorities in Britain and France, of course, do not have the power to block majorities from governing. And any conservative posture that includes blocking debt limit increases is not “waiting upon the success or failure” of the governing party’s policies; they are trying actively to bring on ruin.

But there is something mildly refreshing about conservative super-patriots coming right out and admitting a preference for party over country, and political leverage over prosperity.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.