Maddow likens shutdown-era GOP to doomed, 'Moby Dick'-style whaling crew

On Tuesday's edition of "The Rachel Maddow Show," host Rachel Maddow compared the Republican Party's shutdown madness to a 19th century whaling crew who have harpooned a whale but not killed it and are now being dragged through the water by a 60 ton animal.

"The whale," she said, "because it has been stuck with a harpoon, inevitably takes off swimming. And because the boat is tied to it, the whale is towing the boat behind it at speed. It's dragging our little 19th century crew in our little boat, across the waves, going more than 20 miles an hour. Our whaling boat is essentially water skiing behind a wounded, furious, huge creature, a creature that is way bigger than them."

If the whale is big enough and strong enough, it could dive to the bottom of the ocean, dragging the boat under with it, sending the whaling crew to a watery grave. The captain of the boat has the option, however, to use a hatchet and cut the rope. The crew would be saved, but their prize would escape.

In this fable, she said, the comparison to the shutdown-happy GOP is easy to see, but "now we have a new problem on our ship. Now we have a whole new modern twist that they never had to deal with on a 19th century ship. That is the crew does not think that the captain has to cut the rope ever, no matter what. Turns out the crew is bonkers."

She then played video of Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) saying that worrying about defaulting on the U.S. debt by not raising the debt ceiling is a waste of time.

"This talk about default by the U.S. Treasury is nonsense," Barton said on Tuesday. "We are not going to default on the public debt."

And yet, with the debt ceiling as the Republicans' new hostage in the Republican shutdown drama, the U.S. is on track to do exactly that.

Watch the video, embedded below via MSNBC:

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