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Vintage dem has a powerful warning for us in his spotlighted (spotlit?) diary.

In that same spirit, I want to carry vintage dem's work a step further, and suggest a countermeasure our side can adopt to the dastardly laugh attacks of the Teahadist Clown Show.

They definitely have a psych warfare advantage over us. Their side has less brain to fugaboo with.  Fewer mental faculties means fewer handles to exploit.  

They're all reptile brain, haven't developed the cerebral cortices that make our side so vulnerable to laugh attacks and the resulting distraction from their real threat.  They get us laughing by dangling Bachman in front of us, then -- WHAP! -- that big alligator tail comes at us from out of nowhere and it's game over.

To win against these critters, we need to exploit their weaknesses instead of letting them exploit ours.  It's a known fact, established by actual science, that reptiles have an Achilles heel in their muscles.  I'm not sure they've got an Achilles heel back of their ankles -- not having done the science myself and thus never having attempted to elicit the Achilles reflex in an alligator -- but I know they have an Achilles heel in their muscle physiology.  

A reptile such as your alligator has almost all fast-twitch muscle, where more advanced animals such as ourselves are a more balanced mix of fast and slow twitch muscle.  Fast twitch muscle is used for short but powerful bursts of strength.  This fits the ambush predator role that alligators use to survive and thrive.  The weakness this creates, though, is that the alligator doesn't have much gas left in the tank past the two-to-four minute limit during which fast-twitch muscle can provide all that strength.

Alligator wrestlers have been exploiting this weakness since there have been alligator wrestlers.  Well, they've been exploiting it since there have been alligator wrestlers who survived past their first performance.

What the successful alligator wrestler does, is that before he jumps into the tank with the alligator, he pokes it with a long pole.  This enrages the beast, and it thrashes about wildly.  To the audience unfamiliar with the fine points of reptile muscle physiology, this looks insanely brave of the wrestler.  He's making the alligator furious.  He's making an insanely strong animal that he's about to wrestle furious.  The wrestler starts out with a wooden pole, and when the enraged alligator easily snaps it in two with a single crunch of its mighty jaws, it really looks bad for our performer.  But the wrestler just grabs a metal pole and keeps poking, whipping the beast into a white froth of furious thrashing.

Well, the alligator wrestler is not ignorant of reptile physiology.  As he pokes and prods the alligator, he's observing carefully for that moment when the fast twitch muscle's four minutes is up.  He's got to jump in the tank right after that moment so that the alligator's sudden helplessness isn't obvious to the audience.  It has to look like the wrestler's strength and skill with holds is what's keeping a powerful beast dominated by our intrepid performer, when actually the alligator is now weak as a kitten.

Well, I don't need to point out how enormously useful this knowledge of reptile physiology would be in dealng with the Republican Party, so obvious it is to the unbiased observer how completley they have surrendered all evolutionary advances past the reptile stage of developement.  It's like we have had the Rosetta Stone of Republican psychodynamics dropped in our laps (which might not actually be a terribly pleasant experience).  The problem, though, is how to apply this knowledge to our actual problems with this Grand Old Reptile, the contemporary Republican Party.  What's the metaphorical pole that we use to make the terribly strong forces of Teahadism as weak as a kitten?

Of course we have to leave science behind and enter the realm of Political Science to find the asnwer to that question, so I can't provide answers as obviously rooted in hard fact and unyielding empiricism as the discussion above.  But I think we should be guided by the fact that we already know who the alligator wrestler has to be in our little metaphor.  Clearly, if Obama can't wrestle the beast to the ground, no one can.

We've had the wrong metaphor when we have been thinking about Obama's handling of the Republicans as a game of 11th dimensional chess.  It's increasinlgy clear that nothing nearly so cerebral has been going on as these two titanic forces struggle over nothing less than the fate of the universe, and the size of my 401k.  Maybe Obama even started out trying to contend with the Rs by playing chess with them.  But he soon found out that you can't play chess with critters who lack a cerebral cortex.  You've got to play against reptile physiology if you're going to play against reptiles.  Chess isn't the reptiles' game.  Can't engage with them over chess.

If we want to understand this whole ongoing fake crisis over the budget, we have to start thinking of it as if we're watching alligator wrestling.  You can't make sense of either sides' moves unless you see it in those terms, as a roadside attraction special.

To someone ignorant of reptile physiology, it would be inexplicable for Obama to have agreed to engage with the alligators over the budget.  It sure look like you've got to be an idiot to jump into a tank with an alligator.

But that's just it.  Obama hasn't jumped into the tank.  Look beyond all the sound and fury of the struggle to get the appropriations bills passed a few months ago without a shutdown, and now to get the ceiling raised without default, and you see that nothing of substance has been ceded.  The wrestling match hasn't started yet.  We're in the poke-with-a-stick phase of the performance, the riling of the beast.

"But we're just making the beast angrier and stronger in its fury", with all this foreplay, sensible people object.  Sensible -- but ignorant of reptile physiology!

We have to believe that the Alligator-Wrestler-in-Chief isn't just kicking the can down the road.  He's just going to put off jumping into the tank until the beast has thrashed itself out.  We've got at least one more fake crisis, over the upcoming appropriations bills, one more jab with the pole, before the alligator is played out.

The thing about this beast, is that it doesn't have any slow-twitch muscle.  It's incredibly strong wth fast twitch, it is good at ambushing with the abstract notion that spending is out of control.  But it doesn't have a real long-term plan, it doesn't really want to cut anything but abortion funding (but it already did that a long time ago, so that's just perseveration).  The beast will be ready to for its humiliation when we reach the point where it actually has to say what it wants cut.  When the answer to that question turns out to be, "Not much", and "Oh, ABORTION FUNDING!!!", after all the sound and fury, all the fear of shutdown and default the beast has put the nation through, only at that point will the electorate reach its teachable moment about the nature of this beast.

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