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Citizen Zed - 4/23/11

Just as the modern G.O.P. builds escape velocity from any discernable scientific culture, throwing up infomercial worthy spokesholes who jeopardize The Onion's satirical imagination, it's warped drive still conjures the veneer of gravitas and the imprimatur of inquiry.Ryan's Serious Plan Seemingly out of nowhere, a new catechism ensconces Paul Ryan's budget plan as audacious, bold, and serious.

Matt Taibbi's colorful analysis of Ryan's plan has the merit of teasing out the larger theatrical picture, a bill of flimflam already alluded to by Paul Krugman back in August - as well as recently in "Who's Serious Now". Ryan's plan at the very least appears to rely on dubious forecasting models, if not zombie economics. And even if it fails to bust up any sacred cows regarding military spending, casually adopting Secretary Gates' shallow "defense" cuts, don't worry, Ryan's plan is s e r i o u s.

Things are so serious that Ross Douthat not only joins the chorus but, revving up the powers of cross-pollination, goes so far as to claim the plan "establishes the G.O.P.'s seriousness":

If the Ryan budget is understood as a first step toward such a reform — a bold initial statement that establishes the G.O.P.’s seriousness on the deficit, provides a rough draft for later legislative efforts, and sets the stage for fruitful discussion and debate — then it will have served its purpose. If it’s treated as scripture that can’t be compromised or altered, then we’re all going to be in a lot of trouble.

We're witnessing a major party in what was an advanced democracy veering into the province of magazines at a grocery check out line, and having become ironically hostage to its own dramaturgy. The purpose to which Dothat alludes cannot be distinguished from uncompromising dogma. Debate, discussion and compromise - these are the systematic impurities themselves against which a pure trajectory fights to break orbit. It's no "first step", but rather an advanced engine, a fantasy drive pumped by unmittigated instinct and a solution of non sequiturs. That's the trouble. It really is serious.

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