Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

Debt Ceiling Alignment Chart

with 20 comments

Earlier today @rortybomb asked for a D&D alignment chart on the debt ceiling fight. I thought this was a pretty great idea, and had some free time. Here goes:

20 Responses

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  1. Awesome! Are those all actual quotations?

    Alex Chaffee

    July 16, 2011 at 12:40 am

    • Yes — everything but “Both sides are to blame,” naturally. Hence the apparent typo in the Obama quote; that’s the way his statement was reported.


      July 16, 2011 at 12:43 am

      • In the cool light of morning I decided to Google both versions of the Obama quote and found both versions reported, so I swapped in the grammatically correct quote. If you saw the original, it’s like you saw a misprinted coin…


        July 16, 2011 at 8:47 am

  2. The hardest slot to fill was “Neutral Good.” Schumer was the best I could find for someone who didn’t care how the debt ceiling was raised so long as it was raised — and also the most prominent Democratic politician I could think of who’s given at least some consideration to the constitutional option in pursuit of anything that will work (see for instance here). If people have a better suggestion I’m open to it.


    July 16, 2011 at 12:53 am

    • You obviously have no f-ing clue what these alignments mean if Nancy Pelosi representing Lawful Good.


      February 3, 2012 at 10:50 am

  3. this is awesome


    July 16, 2011 at 1:20 am

  4. I like it. And you did as well given the confines of the meme as I think one could do.

    But I have to admit that it seems like the necessity to fill all nine slots seems to have resulted in some serious grade inflation. I have to wonder whether, given that he seems to actually be *seeking* big cuts in social services, entitlements, etc, Obama wouldn’t be lawful *evil* instead of LN. And it seems like the neutrality of the media is really, in itself, evil. I guess I’m wondering whether you don’t really have a mostly three-point system, with the dems as LE, the media as NE and the republicans as CE, with perhaps a few outliers floating up to the “neutral” level.

    Stepehn Frug

    July 16, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    • Yeah, that’s absolutely right. In fact in @rortybomb’s original pitch the $4T cut *was* the lawful evil box. I flirted at one point with the idea of using Obama twice — once for the LN version of Obama who values means (compromise, bipartisanship) over ends, and another for the LE version of Obama who seems to genuinely want big-time austerity. But in the end I decided this structure worked better for what I was trying to say.

      You could probably actually do one with just Obama, like the great Batman one a student recently sent me.

      And it seems like the neutrality of the media is really, in itself, evil.

      Arguably the biggest flaw in the chart (and with the alignment system more generally). But the meme forced my hand!

      I guess I’m wondering whether you don’t really have a mostly three-point system, with the dems as LE, the media as NE and the republicans as CE, with perhaps a few outliers floating up to the “neutral” level.

      I thought about this, too, while I was putting it together and in the end decided that within the narrow context of the debt ceiling debate you could get all 9 hits. In the larger context, though, I think the three-point all-evil system is the proper way to understand U.S. politics, certainly.


      July 16, 2011 at 4:04 pm

  5. I would suggest you change “True Equal” to “False Equivalencies”


    July 18, 2011 at 5:59 pm

  6. […] Konczal asked for a D&D alignment chart for all of the debt-ceiling positions. Gerry Canavan is up to the task, with a clever […]

  7. […] D&D alignment chart for the debt ceiling battle. If you don’t already know what that means, don’t bother […]

  8. Love how you arbitrarily call anyone for the debt ceiling increase “good” and any against it “evil”. Can’t get any more petty or small minded than that. Good to see that one side of the partisan line is just chucking any pretense of a basic facade of civility and objective thinking out the window.

    Passing DnD fan

    August 25, 2011 at 12:44 pm

    • As a DnD fan you know that “good” and “evil” is baked into the cake with respect to alignment charts; that’s how the charts work. And yes, opposing a debt ceiling increase is evil — it would have caused widespread, tremendous suffering at absolutely no benefit to anyone.


      August 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm

  9. none here!

    What’s that? Raising the debt ceiling means more debt for the youth to pay off so we can continue granting entitlements to old office workers? Nonsense!


    September 5, 2011 at 3:39 am

    • I’m 32 years old. Trust me: my interest is not in screwing over the youth for the benefit of the old. But please pay attention to the policies that are being put forth by the different people involved in this scenario. The current GOP position is that entitlements should remain the same for everyone over 55, and be gutted for everyone younger.

      Meanwhile, the fact is that ten years ago we were on track to pay off the national debt entirely within ten years, that is to say by around right now. What happened is the country elected Republicans who (1) slashed taxes to nothing (2) spent a lot of money on wars and new entitlements for old office workers without thinking about how they were going to pay for it. Now the debt is larger than ever, with the Republicans looking around like they have no idea how this ever could have happened. And their solution is to slash spending — but only on the young — and to threaten to deliberately crash the world economy if anyone tries to raise taxes back to what they used to be.

      That’s not bias; those are the facts.


      September 5, 2011 at 10:13 am

  10. […] very least we could get another wonderful debt ceiling clash out of all this, allowing my beloved debt ceiling alignment chart another chance to go truly […]

  11. […] sometimes an idea just takes hold of you. With apologies, as always, to the great Mightygodking, long may he […]

  12. Pelosi and Schumer as Lawful and Neutral Good? You must not know how the chart works.


    December 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm

  13. I thought debt was bad. Isn’t debt bad? Yeah, debt is bad. We should get out of debt. I like Dave Ramsey, he teaches how to get out of debt.

    Also, drama sucks.


    January 6, 2013 at 2:04 pm

  14. and we back around to this again a decade later, with half the same players rofl. Fk these republicans and fk the “good” dems for keeping most of the republican cuts of the last decade instead of actually trying to progress forward. Less corporate tax than under Obama after he made the Bush cuts permanent, such a great idea lol


    September 26, 2021 at 1:29 pm

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