A House of Representatives stenographer was forcibly removed after exhibiting some rather bizarre behavior, ranting about God and Freemasonry during the vote on raising the debt ceiling, providing the perfect finale to the ridiculous exercise in futility that a handful of zealots forced us all to endure.
No president would ever, ever give in to the extortionate tactics they employed. If he did his presidency would be over. The next time they didn't get their way they'd do it again. And again. He might as well resign.
To be crystal clear about this, their chance of success in defunding Obamacare was exactly as good as that of every single person you know spontaneously changing into an Irish Setter.
The cost of this temper tantrum (confining it to dollars and cents, never mind the loss of prestige, becoming a worldwide laughing stock) has been estimated at $24 billion by Standard & Poor's. That's $1,500,000,000 per day of income not earned, people not hired, mortgages not taken out, revenues not collected, work not done.
Saddest of all, the entire fiasco could have been avoided if "Tobacco John" Boehner, the weakest and most ineffective Speaker in House history, would have allowed a vote at the start of the uprising. The end result would have been pretty much the same.
Luckily an even worse disaster was avoided when the few remaining adults in the Republican party came to the rescue.
If we had defaulted on our debt payments, the blow to the nation's, and the world's, economy would have been catastrophic.
Reputable (emphasis on "reputable") economists and business people predicted a financial debacle that would have made the 2008 - 2011 recession look like a picnic.
Downgrading of America's borrowing status would have cost uncountable billions of dollars in increased interest. Social Security and veterans' benefits would have been cut. Medicare and Medicaid services reduced. Unemployment spiked. Retirement accounts devastated when the stock market plummeted, conjuring up memories of 1929. Our problems would have wreaked devastation on the rest of the world as the contagion spread. Depression anyone?
All this was completely obvious to any rational person.
Which, of course, eliminates congressional Tea Party crackpots, whose visceral, unreasoning, blind hatred of anything Obama renders them perfectly willing to sacrifice everything on the altar of their monomania.
But their efforts have earned the epistolary quotation.
Otter: "I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture to be done on somebody's part."
Bluto: "We're just the guys to do it." -Animal House (1978)