These Aren’t the Hostages You’re Looking For

My new piece explains the way-too-obvious manuever Republicans are attempting, as the debt debate gets further out of hand.

Near the end of The Dark Knight, the Joker comes up with a brilliant plan to befuddle Batman and the police. Instead of ordering his henchmen to stand over their hostages, he forces the hostages to stand up and point phony guns at the henchmen. From afar—from, say, a sniper’s scope—it looks like the hostages are actually the people to take out.

The gambit doesn’t work, for complicated and irrelevant reasons that raise serious questions about spying and cell phone security. It’s still a useful way of understanding the switcheroo that Republicans are trying to engineer in the debate over the debt limit. So far their ruse is as unsuccessful as the Joker’s was.

It makes sense, trust me.