Paul Krugman's Monday column "There Will Be Blood," is the #1 most emailed story on the New York Times website as of Tuesday afternoon, and one can see its appeal to the paper's liberal readership.
Krugman took hysterical objection to a metaphor employed by retired Republican Sen. Alan Simpson, who has made bits of colorful phrases his stock and trade. Simpson said:
"I can't wait for the blood bath in April....When debt limit time comes, they're going to look around and say, 'What in the hell do we do now? We've got guys who will not approve the debt limit extension unless we give 'em a piece of meat, real meat,' " meaning spending cuts. "And boy, the blood bath will be extraordinary," he continued.
Think of Mr. Simpson's blood lust as one more piece of evidence that our nation is in much worse shape, much closer to a political breakdown, than most people realize.
After accusing the GOP of endangering the nation by "sabotaging the president" by opposing the START treaty with Russia, Krugman went on to take Simpson's "blood bath" a bit too literally.
These days, national security experts are tearing their hair out over the decision of Senate Republicans to block a desperately needed new strategic arms treaty. And everyone knows that these Republicans oppose the treaty, not because of legitimate objections, but simply because it's an Obama administration initiative; if sabotaging the president endangers the nation, so be it.
How does this end? Mr. Obama is still talking about bipartisan outreach, and maybe if he caves in sufficiently he can avoid a federal shutdown this spring. But any respite would be only temporary; again, the G.O.P. is just not interested in helping a Democrat govern.
My sense is that most Americans still don't understand this reality. They still imagine that when push comes to shove, our politicians will come together to do what's necessary. But that was another country.
It's hard to see how this situation is resolved without a major crisis of some kind. Mr. Simpson may or may not get the blood bath he craves this April, but there will be blood sooner or later. And we can only hope that the nation that emerges from that blood bath is still one we recognize.
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