Of course it is encouraging to open up the Insight section of today’s San Francisco Chronicle and find a sentence like the following:
The much-vaunted Republican pledge not to raise any taxes is crumbling.
The only problem is that the author of this sentence is Robert Reich. It is not that I dislike Reich. To the contrary, I find him to be one of the most reasoned voices trying to address the nature of an economic crisis that prevails no matter how many institutions try to declare its demise.
However, that is precisely the source of my difficulty. Reich has never really come to grips with the fact that rationality cannot stand up to assault from those who always place domination ahead of signification. Invoking Max Weber, I recently wrote than “politics is ultimately all about power and who gets to exercise how much of it;” and anything that politicians do ultimately comes down to matters of power, regardless of what does or does not make sense through even the most elementary forms of logical reasoning. Indeed, as I observed the in the context of the above quote, the most accessible model for understanding Weber may be the Peanuts character Lucy van Pelt, who once delivered the now classic line:
He was beginning to make sense, so I hit him.
The Republicans may be on the ropes right now; but, like Rocky Balboa, they may still be able to recover enough strength to come out swinging. Until the rich actually start paying something like a fair share in the interest of getting this country back on a more secure fiscal standing, it is hard for me to have much confidence in any forecasting based solely on principles of rationality.