Yesterday, the logical Greek tried to make sense out of Speaker of the House John Boehner. Today he spoke with Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader. The Reid quotes are real, taken from an Esquire interview over the weekend. Socrates’ words are not real, but they ought to be.
Socrates: What are you doing to open the government back up and ensure that the nation pays its bills? Will you negotiate a compromise with the Republicans?
Reid: We cannot leave the full faith and credit of the United States subject to a fight over whatever the issue of the day may be. That has never, ever, in the history of the country been done before. This is the first time.
Socrates: So the issue here is to protect the nation’s full faith and credit. Judging from other recent comments, you also think the issue is insanity. You said that the Tea Party representatives in the House had lost their minds. Was that helpful in restoring America’s full faith and credit?
Reid: The reason I said that is that Einstein said the sign of insanity is when you do something over and over again and expect a different result. They’ve voted forty-four times to defund Obamacare. Is that insanity? I think so.
Socrates: Yet this latest Republican action, tying Obamacare to resolving the government shutdown and the debt limit, seems to prove that the Tea Party members have recovered at least some of their sanity. “It has never been done before,” you said.
Reid: Look: Republicans opposed Social Security. It’s a government program, and they didn’t like it. They hated Medicare.… Now Social Security and Medicare are widely popular. They know that the same is going to happen with Obamacare. And just like Social Security and Medicare, they don’t want it.
Socrates: Do you believe that if something is popular, it is inherently good? I can think of times when popular government decisions turned out not to be so good.
Reid: I said on the floor that this is Orwell’s 1984: Up is down, black is white.
Socrates: Permit me the insanity of repeating my first question and expecting a different answer: What are you doing to open the government back up and increase the debt limit? Is any attempt being made to speak with the Republicans—if not in black and white, then in living color?
Reid: No, no, no, no. What is there to talk about? We gave Boehner the number that he wanted. Then he said he wanted a conference. We gave him that, and he still couldn’t accept it. The only thing they want is to get rid of Obamacare. And let me tell you, that is not gonna happen. What is there to talk about?
Socrates: Other than the future of your republic? Very little, apparently.