It’s not ransom, it’s a game of chicken

While Harry Reid and Obama dash about flinging outrageous metaphors comparing the government shutdown and pending debt ceiling to arson and hostage taking, I think William Galston, writing in today’s Wall Street Journal, may have hit upon a more accurate metaphor:

Agence France-Presse/Getty Images via WSJ

“In the classic game of chicken, two cars are racing toward a one-lane bridge from opposite directions. If one swerves to avoid a collision, the other wins. If both swerve, neither wins, but both live to race again. If neither swerves, the cars crash.

“Right now, that’s the structure of the struggle over the debt ceiling. Neither party is swerving or even slowing down. Each driver is assuming that the other must change course, and both have their reasons. President Obama and Senate Democrats believe that the public is more inclined to blame congressional Republicans for the impasse and that every day that passes will ratchet up the pressure on House Speaker John Boehner. Republicans are betting on public concerns about deficits and debt, on the continuing unpopularity of the Affordable Care Act, and on what they see as the president’s unwillingness to defend his own red lines when the going gets tough.”

The problem is that the American population is in the back seat and our sleeves are caught on the door handle.