Are we doing this or not? Are Republican leaders just appeasing Tea Party activists, or are they serious about putting the screws on to a result out of the deficit talks? If they are, why is Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell already talking about extending the talks? Anyone?
Congressional Republicans are supposedly threatening not to raise the debt limit unless they get real cuts in spending. They’re responding to grass roots pressure and the demands of GOP lawmakers elected to change the way Washington operates
But, alas, House Speaker John Boehner and McConnell are veteran Beltway insiders, happy hagglers who generate long filthy tubes of legislative sausage. They spend their lives making deals. As if to accent the point, Boehner tagged along with Obama Saturday onto the golf course, the place where sensible businessmen make deals.
But, my word, the deadline for raising the debt ceiling is now about six weeks away! THERE MIGHT NOT BE A DEAL.
And so we get the white flag from McConnell on Face the Nation:
The president and the vice president, everybody knows you have to tackle entitlement reform . . . If we can’t do that, then we’ll probably end up with a very short-term proposal over, you know, a few months, and we’ll be back having the same discussion again in the fall.
That is, we’ll raise the debt limit enough to last a few months so we can talk in the fall. What, pray tell, will we know in the fall that we don’t know today?
The awful irony of this is that McConnell is dressing up his prescription for inaction by pretending he’s only making tougher demands that appeal to conservatives. But instead of saying “Entitlement reform or bust,” McConnell is demanding: “GIVE ME ENTITLEMENT REFORM OR GIVE ME AN EXTENSION!”
Well, the White House will be only too happy to comply. Who knows what will happen in the fall? Perhaps the economy will get better or a new report will come out showing an increase in revenues, reducing the pressure for budget cuts.
The refuge of someone who doesn’t want to do something is procrastination, right?
Let’s get inside McConnell’s head and see what’s going on in there. I’ll just use this handy Dossier remote brain probe. I’m setting it to the coordinates of McConnell’s cerebrum. Give me a second while it syncs up. Here we go now, I’m getting something . . .
Oh my God, these Tea Party people are nuts! Exceed the debt limit? We’ve never done that in Washington. Ever! If we exceed the debt limit, the Chinese will be so mad! The Europeans will think we have no class. God, what if the president finds out I’m not serious?? But, gosh, I’m up in 2014 – I don’t want a PRIMARY CHALLENGE!
We’ve got to stall . . . I know, I’ll raise the ante . . . I’ll, I’ll pretend I’m merely making more demands! I’ll tell them we must have entitlement reform, and that will take more time. Then in the fall, the presidential campaign will be heating up, and we can call a truce, raise the ceiling, and say the voters must decide! That’s it! Or something like that.
Oops, lost contact. But that’s okay. I think we get what’s going on here.