More broadly, the downgrade reflects our view that the effectiveness, stability, and predictability of American policymaking and political institutions have weakened at a time of ongoing fiscal and economic challenges to a degree more than we envisioned when we assigned a negative outlook to the rating on April 18, 2011.The Tea Party GOP got what they wanted. Their game of economic terrorism has resulted in one more step towards economic calamity for the American people. The austerity recession is here, if not already fully arrived.
Since then, we have changed our view of the difficulties in bridging the gulf between the political parties over fiscal policy, which makes us pessimistic about the capacity of Congress and the Administration to be able to leverage their agreement this week into a broader fiscal consolidation plan that stabilizes the government's debt dynamics any time soon.
The other shoe has fallen as well: although America's AAA credit rating made it through two world wars and a Great Depression intact, it could not survive the country's first black President. The Tea Party GOP can sit in the corner, smugly smiling now, as they prepare to carve up Barack Obama just a wee bit more as the 2012 election approaches.
Let us be frank and state the obvious...a reality that so many in the mainstream media are loathe to admit: The Tea Party GOP and its highwayman want to destroy President Obama because he is a Democrat. But, they despise him because he is Black.
The intransigence and obstructionism that the President experienced at every turn, especially as seen in what is almost always a routine decision to raise the debt ceiling limit, has been--pardon the pun--deeply colored by the bugaboo that is white racism.
My claim is not one that is lacking in nuance, where it is "only" white racial resentment and hostility that drives Right-wing, Tea Party GOP opposition to Barack Obama. In a moment of extreme political polarization ideology is made to trump all. The Right-wing rage machine has made compromise, normal politics, and reasonable discourse all but impossible. Race, as the third rail in American political and social life intersects all of those variables. Thus, White racism is a sweetener of sorts that amplifies an already high stakes game of political poker and brinkmanship.
Noted historian David Roediger, echoing the magisterial W.E.B. Du Bois, introduced the phrase "wages of whiteness" into the vocabulary of those who study race, politics, and American history. His pithy turn of phrase (and what is a rich concept) has been infectious. The framework was subsequently expanded to include the idea that white skin privilege brings with it unearned material, economic, psychological, and legal resources/benefits/gains to those classified as "white" in American society. Thus, the "wages" of Whiteness.
The racial resentment and hostility of the Tea Party GOP towards President Obama has now introduced a flip side to that concept. In order to destroy a President, the Tea Party GOP was driven by both racism and partisanship to wreck the American economy and hold the people of the country hostage in a time of the Great Recession.
Here, Whiteness has become a debit--one, to the tune of billions or perhaps even trillions of dollars--as the impact of the Tea Party GOP's reckless behavior, driven by racial hostility and animus, reverberates out across the American and world economy.
Once more, the pathological nature of Whiteness hurts all things and all people across the fuzzy divides of the colorline. There is no escaping it. Even for those deeply invested in its permanence.