As we slogged through another day of the Theater of the Absurd on Capitol Hill, it became clear that there were several levels of interpreting the monstrous action on and off the fiscal cliff stage.
(1) You could try to understand it as John Boehner's desperate attempt to save his speakership as well as his congressional seat, the country be damned.
(2) You could try to understand it as Eric Cantor's wily scheme to succeed Boehner -- Cantor, the modern Cassius whom Shakespeare described as a fellow with a "lean and hungry look" , adding: "he thinks too much; such men are dangerous.".
(3)You could try to understand it as a new year's toast to Grover Norquist, the unelected anti-tax lobbyist who has a death grip on an army of Republicans in the House of Representatives.
(4) You could try to understand it as a malignant hatred of President Obama, more so now that he won the election by nearly 5 million votes.
(5)You could try to understand it as unsurpassed, if foolhardy, grandstanding driven by an absolute disregard of how history will remember the participants.
(6)Or you could try to understand it as the mob scene of a bunch of overfed lunatics.
If you weave all of these into the narrative, you can see that we are in deep trouble, folks.