Distance-Lends-Clarity Department

Vince Cable, an economist, is the Business Secretary in the UK center-right coalition government. Remarking on the irony of all the attention being focused on the Greek crisis and the future of the Euro when developments in the U.S. are so financially scary, he said yesterday:

The biggest threat to the world financial system comes from a few rightwing nutters in the American Congress.

Of course, lots of us – most of the readers of this blog, for example – already knew that the House GOP is dominated by “nutters.” But the mass public doesn’t – or at least didn’t – know that, and the commentariat mostly didn’t think it polite to mention the fact: far easier (as Churchill said) to evenhandedly denounce the fire department and the fire.

The people feverishly denouncing Obama’s “sell-out” seem to me to be deficient in empathy. Not needing themselves to learn the lesson he’s been teaching for the past six weeks, they err in concluding that the rest of the populace also didn’t need to learn it. But they did, and do, and I predict that when the history of the 2012 election – and perhaps of the Teahadi movement in general – is written, this will turn out to have been its decisive month.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-Based Community]

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Mark Kleiman

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the New York University Marron Institute.