People did not understand what they were doing, but they voted for this in November 2010.

“It’s not even gridlock. It’s worse than that,” said Allan Lichtman, a history professor at American University who once ran for the Senate himself as a Democrat. He said “gridlock” implies that somebody was at least trying to get legislation passed.

Instead, he said, this year “they’re not even trying to get something done.”

No, instead, they’ve spent a third of their time in the Senate in quorum calls. I can’t say I blame them. There is nothing that Democrats and Republicans can agree on to do, and neither party has the strength to force anything through. And that won’t change under any imaginable scenario after the next election.

Speaking of the next election, it is looking increasingly likely to me that Tim Pawlenty will emerge as the only possible alternative to Mitt Romney. And, since the Republican base in almost infinitely less likely to accept Romney as their ordained front-runner than the Democratic base was willing to accept Hillary Clinton in that role, it looks to me like Pawlenty is close to a lock to win the nomination. Steve Benen is focused on the Alice in Wonderland aspect of Pawlenty’s tax plans, but he’s smart to embrace The Stupid early and often. When has talking reason with Republican voters ever gotten anyone anywhere. An independent analysis of Pawlenty’s tax plan says it will reduce taxes by well over a trillion dollars a year over the next decade ($11.6 trillion overall) and that almost every penny will go to people who are already fabulously wealthy. Here’s what Pawlenty had to say about it on Fox News:

“Keep in mind, whether it be the Bush tax cuts, the Reagan tax cuts, or other tax cuts, they always produce an increase in revenue. There’s no dispute about that…. We don’t have to guess what will happen to revenues if we do bold tax cuts, and mine are amongst the boldest in the modern history of the country. We saw that the revenues increased dramatically because of President Reagan’s tax cuts, same with Kennedy, same to significant extent under President Bush the second. So it’s not a question of whether revenues are going to go up. They will.”

This reminds me of a scene from Lewis Carrol’s Through the Looking Glass, a book my father read to me more than any other:

Alice could not help laughing at this, even in the midst of her tears. ‘Can you keep from crying by considering things?’ she asked.

‘That’s the way it’s done,’ the Queen said with great decision: ‘nobody can do two things at once, you know. Let’s consider your age to begin with — how old are you?’

‘I’m seven and a half, exactly.’

‘You needn’t say “exactly”,’ the Queen remarked. ‘I can believe it without that. Now I’ll give you something to believe. I’m just one hundred and one, five months and a day.’

‘I can’t believe that!’ said Alice.

‘Can’t you?’ the Queen said in a pitying tone. ‘Try again: draw a long breath, and shut your eyes.’

Alice laughed. ‘There’s no use trying,’ she said ‘one can’t believe impossible things.’

‘I daresay you haven’t had much practice,’ said the Queen. ‘When I was your age, I always did it for half-an-hour a day. Why, sometimes I’ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.

People who watch Fox News before breakfast know what the White Queen is talking about. Or, at least, they should know what she’s talking about, but probably don’t. How often do we listen to Republican rhetoric and think to ourselves, “There is no use in arguing, one can’t argue with people who believe in impossible things”?

And how often do they come back and chide us for living in a reality-based community that believes that solutions emerge from a judicious study of discernible reality?

There is not a whiff, a scent, an iota, or even a scintilla of truthiness to what Pawlenty said on Fox News. He was engaged in the most outrageous lying, telling us that there isn’t even any dispute about something that absolutely no one acquainted with facts happens to believe.

And this is precisely why he is going to benefit from it politically. He’s basically double dog-daring Mitt Romney to tell the Republican base that the truth is otherwise. Let the Mormon prove he is a heretic and an infidel who doesn’t understand or subscribe to the Gospel of Supply-Side Jesus.

Fortunately, for now, the public seems to understand what they’ve done and are assigning blame appropriately.