In the history of mankind, many republics have risen, have flourished for a less or greater time, and then have fallen because their citizens lost the power of governing themselves and thereby of governing their state. TR


Mitch McConnell’s Brilliant Maneuver

Yeah, I said it.

Because McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, is offering Republicans a proposal that he should title, “The GOP Have Your Cake and Eat it Too Plan.” And when you get to have your cake and eat it too, you’ve done something brilliant.

I’ll tell you what’s going to happen here. Something like the McConnell proposal to force President Obama to propose raising the debt ceiling – sticking him with the blame – is going to pass with the support of the White House, Democrats, and some Republicans, while the rest of the Republican caucus will oppose it out of “principle” and call everyone else names while benefiting the most politically.

McConnell will take crap from them for getting them off the hook. And he won’t care. Because he’ll enjoy the irony of knowing that he pulled all their asses out of the fire. McConnell, who has long been the craftiest operator in Washington, will relish his own sleight of hand.

Let’s deal with reality here. The debt limit has to be raised. There is no sane economist who thinks it will not be an economic catastrophe were it not increased. Conservatives are correct in pointing out that we’re headed toward and economic catastrophe anyway if the deficit is not reduced, and they are correct in thinking they were not sent to Washington to raise taxes.

But having correctly tried and failed to use the debt ceiling to wring a deal out of Obama, they can now either stage a victorious tactical withdrawal or a frenzied headlong retreat.

Here’s what happens if the debt ceiling is not raised: Key services begin to end, checks don’t get paid, markets go haywire, the economy begins to stall, and Republicans say “yikes!” and then HEAD INTO FULL RETREAT AND CHANGE THEIR MINDS REAL FAST AND VOTE TO RAISE THE DEBT CEILING.

There will be other opportunities to reduce spending. Voting against a debt ceiling increase is like telling a very sick patient you’re going to have to kill them instead of continuing to try to cure them.

But under McConnell’s GOP Have Your Cake and Eat it Too Plan, which Democrats are already agreeing to and which the White House hasn’t exactly opposed, conservatives get to pretend they’ve done something noble by supporting a policy of not raising the debt ceiling that would quickly destroy the economy. And Obama and Democrats will take all the heat.

Under the GOP Have Your Cake and Eat it Too Plan, OBAMA must propose to raise the debt ceiling three times – including the summer before Election Day. Republicans can vote against it, but Obama can veto their vote, in which case they need two thirds majorities to override the veto and not raise the debt limit. They won’t get it, but they’ll get to say they went to the wall to get a deal to cut spending without raising taxes.

This is what’s known as hypocrisy and sanctimony. Its exactly what Republicans accuse Democrats of doing: Taking outrageous ideological positions that make them feel good but that would ruin the country.

The reality is that voters put Obama in office and gave the Senate to the Democrats. If a deal with Obama that doesn’t raise taxes is not possible, then you don’t destroy the country out of spite. You go back and campaign to get a different political calculus in Washington.

Obama’s hypocrisy is equally stirring. He never lifted a finger to reduce the deficit until pressured in this manner. Actually, he added trillions to the deficit through his health care law and stimulus program.

His threat yesterday to deny seniors their Social Security checks is unconscionably bad political theater. The checks will go out Aug. 3. I don’t believe for a minute there aren’t other things that can be done before we snatch granny’s purse or default on loans from the Chinese.

But those things will eventually happen. Republicans are like a mad spouse standing in the doorway with a revolver to the head threatening to shoot themselves if they don’t get their way.

That’s not principle. It’s irresponsible. Especially when they there’s The GOP Have Your Cake and Eat it Too Plan out there.

129 thoughts on “Mitch McConnell’s Brilliant Maneuver”

  1. This is insane. It is political gamesmanship. Watching the DC-NYC media praise McConnell for coming up with a legislative gimmick makes me sick. Sure, we will have to eventually raise the debt ceiling… but the house could pass a bill right now with serious cuts and force Reid to vote on it or default. They could pass a different version every day. Quit negotiating and start passing bills out of the house that would raise the ceiling and impose serious 2012 cuts. McConnell’s plan is like punting on 3rd down…always a bad idea.

      1. Are you 2 serious?
        The House Republicans did in fact pass this very thing and Reid has refused to put it up for a vote. Its called the Ryan Plan.

        1. Disagree with you Mike. It did come up for a vote in the Senate and it was defeated with the aid of 5 Republicans. Are they even considering Ryan’s budget in the debt ceiling debate? Who knows what they are discussing because they sure aren’t telling us.

    1. The US Government cannot actually default:

      “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.” (14th Amendment, 4a)

      If we ran out of debt, 100% of taxes will go to paying off the debt. To default we would need a constitutional amendment!

      1. 100% of taxes is not enough to pay it off any more. That’s why we have so much debt. Taxes aren’t enough to pay for everything they spend money on.

  2. Hmmm…while I follow the logic, it seems to depend an awful lot on an American public who can name the Kardashian’s cat but couldn’t find Washington D.C. on a map.

    But I like it and I’m a MM believer.

    1. Jeff, thanks for the comment, but I disagree.

      1. I believe the projections on costs are low, so Obamacare won’t reduce the deficit.
      2. The cuts and tax increases that were used to “pay for” Obamacare can no longer be used to reduce the deficit. So effectively Obamacare worsens the deficit. Nothing is free.

    2. That’s not a fact, that’s an assumption. Unless you’re a time traveller who’s just come from two decades into the future, you cannot call it a fact.

      1. By your time travel logic, then the statement “Health reform lowers the deficit, particularly in the 2nd decade and beyond.” is also an assumption. It is not a point of fact.

          1. So let me see if I understand you: I tell Jeff that unless he’s from the future he can’t claim “Health reform lowers the deficit, particularly in the 2nd decade and beyond.” as a fact, and that is is only an assumption. You claim that I’m making a logical error because unless Jeff is from the future his statement is not a fact and is, instead, an assumption. I just don’t follow your reasoning.

          2. Nevermind. I just noticed what I believe is your error. You are mistakenly thinking that my reply is to Keith. If you look at how comments work on this site, replies are indented from the coment to which they are a reply. My comment lines up with Keith’s and is indented from Jeff’s. Mine is a reply to Jeff, not Keith.

    3. Jeff,

      Medicare is going broke. Government run health care costs always exceed projections. Obamacare will be the same.

      Obama needs to fix Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to have ANY credibility on reducing deficits. The lenders of the world bond markets will be watching. If Obama does not something serious about deficits, US interest rates will rise and we will be on the road to Greece.

    4. Point of fact: ObamaCare is our Geece in waiting. Here is a nice piece that talks about what ObamaCare as Medicaid for all.

      And note the fact that in ObamaCare is a presumption of eligibility for anyone who comes to a clinic or hospital for care. That effectively means that any tourist or citizen of any country can come to our hospitals and immediately upon walking into the ER or clinic be enrolled in Medicaid. Koffler is right that the Paid For stamp is long been debunked. But smart journalists would look into so many other aspects of the law that make it the mother of all deficit builders.

    5. MT for re-redistribution

      You are smoking dope Jeff. The federal government has never been able to successfully manage anything without ridiculous cost over-runs.

      1. That has and will always be true. The people that run these programs have no investment in them so costs and cost management are meaningless to them.

    6. The Government starts collecting “dues” before the Plan comes in to effect, which temporarily creates a “sunspot” of non-deficit spending. This comes to an end in year 12, however, when all the saved money has been spent.

      In addition, there are costs of enforcing Obamacare that have not yet been funded, and these will likely shove it right in to the red from day one.

    7. ACA does NOT lower the deficit as stated by the CBO on p 15 of their scoring of reid’s bills: Cost estimates in the second ten years are NOT MEANINGFUL (their words) as uncertainties are simply too great.

      throw on top of the the HALF TRILLION in medicare cuts that won’t happen.

      ANYBODY who claims/believes that providing and UNLIMITED ENTITLEMENT to 300+ MILLION people who will have UNLIMITED ACCESS to the entitlement is going to lower the deficit is simply too stupid to vote.

    8. Jeff, first you have to GET to the 2nd decade of the plan – provided you believe it would lower the deficit; which it won’t – to see any supposed savings. Do you not think that dozens, if not hundreds of priorities will change which wipe out the “strictly on paper” savings? Come up for air, dude, and stop drinking the kool-aid..

  3. Keith, I’m disappointed that you would perpetuate the ridiculous notion that failing to raise an arbitrary debt ceiling will provoke a cataclysm (or even worse, the notion that raising it would somehow avoid catastrophe). The only thing that will avoid a financial trainwreck in this country is turning off the money spigot. Raising the debt ceiling to solve our financial predicament is the equivalent of raising the blood-alcohol limit to solve drunk driving.

    1. MT for re-redistribution

      Perfect analogy!! Liberals in government ARE drunk with spending. And just like alcoholism, they surround themselves with ONLY other drunkards so they see NO OTHER WAY to exist.

      I agree, let’s default and then we MAY see a brave new world of responsibility. What would happen is the people would re-take the government.

    2. Actually it would. The 14th Amendment guarantees that 100% of taxes would be put to paying off the debt in that case, leading to no checks of any kind from the government except to pay off debt.

      1. Horse manure. The 14th Amendment says nothing of the kind. Besides, isn’t there a lock box somewhere around with all our money sitting in it? The benefits checks he is threatening to cut have nothing to do with borrowed money. We take in 200B a month, 20B goes to pay the creditors. Plenty enough left over for our government to pay their obligations to the American citizens. Now the first family may have to cancel that Martha’s Vineyard vacation. Oh well C’est La Vie.

        1. There’s a lock box somewhere all right. But it only has IOU’s in it dating back to when LBJ stole the money to pay for Viet Nam. There hasn’t been a dime in it since then.

  4. Sometimes it is so depressing to be a conservative. Especially when we we have a wet noodle like McConnell as minority leader in the Senate and the compliant press who rally around this stupid plan to give the most prolific spender in American history the keys to the treasury. Obama gets everything he wants out of this deal. The only way Congress can stop him is if they have a 2/3rd majority. Since the Republicans are a minority in the Senate and the House couldn’t even come up with a 2/3rds majority to overturn the light-bulb ban, it ain’t gonna happen.

    The ball is in Obama’s court. Give him no quarter Boehner.

    1. Normally I love to see conservatives in despair. However I am becoming convinced the hard liners on both sides have zero political savvy; therefore, they cannot aprreciate it when they see it. Next year we will be lamenting the Republican super majority and explaining it away as the President taking a principled stand. A lot of good that will do us as the Republicans roll back years of progressive legislation. More of us see this than will admit it, but we need to do something now or next year will be a disaster. You have to win elections to advance your ideaology. The President jumped the shark again yesterday. We are toast next year.

  5. Talk about spraying perfume on a turd! Obama will take all the heat for calling the Republican’s bluff? I know that it is tough following the blow-by-blow in a political punch-up like this, but it will not be difficult to show the public that it was the GOP, albatrossed by the Tea Party, that finally blinked.

    The problem is that the conservatives ARE trying to have their cake and eat it too. Come on: slashing entitlement spending by the trillions while letting the “job creators” (snort!) keep all their doubloons? Bachmann has got the GOP by the short and curlies, and it would be hilarious but for the fact that her caucus has just sabotaged a genuine effort to bring the deficit under control. “How’s that tea baggy thing workin’ for ya’?”

    1. This isn’t a game my friend. If we keep on this path of spending like drunken progressives nobody is going to have any “doubloons”. Time for the bratty kids in Washington to get serious and stop playing their games of party politics and one-upmanship and fix the problem.

      FYI, McConnell is a RINO…he is about as far away from being a conservative as Obama.

      1. I don’t know why you bothered. Ray is clearly smug, covetous, and collectivist. Remember the old admonition about arguing with a fool.

          1. The GOP should call Obama’s bluff. Offer to rescind the Bush tax cuts in exchange for real cuts in spending (as defined by the GOP). Then, if Obama blinks, he takes the heat; if he antes up, we reduce the deficit.

            And don’t give me any of that “you can’t raise taxes in a down economy crap,” Reagan did it, and what followed was prosperity. Real conservatives should have opposed those tax cuts ten years ago when it was clear that the GOP lead Congress and President Bush didn’t have the fiscal responsibility or courage to cut spending in order to off-set the loss in revenue.

          2. Oh please tell me you’re not comparing President Reagan to this piece of work in office right now? Unless you have read the Reagan Diaries you have no idea what he dealt with on a day to day basis. Reagan had the rug pulled out from under him by Tip O’Neill. They were never ever friends. Reagan was promised $3 of cuts for every 1$ increase in taxes. Guess what? The taxes came immediately and the cuts never materialized. Sound familiar? Reagan was snookered by the Democrats and he learned his lesson after that. When Reagan made a mistake by trusting a louse, he would fess up to it like a man. He was an American before he was a politician…something sorely missing in Obama.

          3. I wasn’t comparing president Obama to President Reagan, but to make the point that President Reagan could learn from a mistake and move to correct it. After cutting taxes in 1981, Reagan raised taxes in 1982. Whatever the lesson learned from that experience, it didn’t keep him from raising taxes again in 1983, 1984, 1985 and 1986. Moreover, it wasn’t just Tip O’Neill that went along with these tax hikes, the Republican controlled Senate passed these measures until they lost the majority in 1986.

            My point was that smart people, like Reagan, are not afraid to deal with realities (i.e. it is irresponsible to cut taxes without cutting spending). Reagan was no fool and he was never “snookered” by the Democrats. He believed that cutting taxes would increase prosperity and thus increased tax revenue – off-setting the large budgets that he was signing into law. Deficits shot up quicker than expected and he raised taxes. I didn’t read Reagan’s diary (and I doubt you read Obama’s), but at least I’m not re-writing history to make my point.

            FYI, George Bush wasn’t promised any spending reductions in 2001 or 2003 when he cut taxes without cutting spending. I guess he was just snookering himself.

          4. No, no, no. Reagan raised taxes in search of agreement from O’Neill to cut spending. O’Neill promply reneged on the deal and for the remainder of his administration Reagan never again considered any tax for spending cut deal with the congress. Read the Reagan Diaries and get the facts straight before you begin lecturing people more familiar with the subject than you are.

        1. Darn, I keep falling for their tricks. Gil is just another Ray and I didn’t pick up on it soon enough. There is no reasoning with a progressive.

          1. The communists from the 60’s used to call Reagan a fool too. I’d much rather be called a fool for being a Reaganite than a tool who believes Obama wants to fix anything but the next election.

          2. But you are for accepting progressive dogma without even examining the history of the movement. I say that because the history of progressivism is one of misery and defeat and by the way did you know that the international communist movement changed it’s name to progressivism when they realized thet voters had discovered communisms flaws for themselves?

            Fortunately your foolish faith in this movement seems to be grounded in ignorance and therefore easily cured.

          3. Kreulhunter,
            I think you’re the one that needs to get the facts straight. The tax increase for spending cuts that O’Neill “reneged” took place in 1982. I never suggested that Reagan’s subsequent tax hikes in 1983, 1984, 1985 1986 and 1987 were part of a spending reduction trade-off, and I’m not suggesting that on balance Reagan didn’t cut taxes, the net effect was that he did. I was pointing out that having gone too far in 1981, Reagan saw that he needed to pull back and raise taxes in each of the succeeding six years he was in office. A lesson that George Bush never learned and the current Republican leadership could learn from, but as a scholar – you knew that.

    2. As Sen. Marco Rubio pointed out, the Democrat proposal to raise taxes would pay off approximately 10 days of deficit spending, and then nosedive as it curtailed economic activity. Much better to sell the BLM.

    3. Ray,

      First, billions not trillions. You should at least try to get the orders of magnitude right.

      Second, there are not entitlements in play, just more income redistribution to satisfy some idiotic Robin Hood complex that you liberals share along with your willingness to spend other peoples hard earned money on your own pet issues..

      Third, who do you suppose supplies the investment capital to start and grow the businesses that create jobs in search of profits which are then raided by the looters in various capitols? If you actually believe that government programs are responsible for economic growth, ie, JOBS, then you truly need a couple of quarters of basic economics. A little economic history would help too.

  6. At least this forces Obama to publically call three times to raise the debt ceiling. His stupid spending helped create this crisis and he should have to publically support the disaster that he created by being the one to say, “We effed up so bad that we need to be more in thrall to foreign government, my fellow citizens.”

    A small satisfaction, but one that I will savour.

    1. Don’t forget the President has the MM in his pocket. They’ll spin each of his requests the same way they’ve spun everything else he’s proposed.

      Jeff Schroeffel above has the right idea: if the House passes an interim debt ceiling increase with smaller cuts, the pressure remains on the Senate (and the President) to accept it or propose an alternative. McConnell’s plan gives Democrats the wiggle room they need to blame Republicans for a default/shutdown.

  7. Pingback: Headline hits » Cold Fury

  8. The correct phrase is “eat your cake and have it, too”, not “have your cake and eat it, too”. If you have your cake, you can always eat it, but if you eat your cake, you cannot have it, too. So, when you’re trying to describe something that’s too good to be true, or something that’s an extraordinarily winning strategy, it’s “eat your cake and have it, too.”

  9. Pingback: Thank You, Mitch McConnell | Man Are We Screwed

  10. This is a high stakes game of political chicken. Obama is betting that he can wind up the seniors and poor to screeching levels by suggesting payments for August won’t go out. To scare old people and poor people in that way is not just political theater, it’s cruel. Shame on you Mr. Obama. In a similar vein, McConnell’s “offer” is in the nature of just enough rope. I don’t know how this will play out but it is clear that Democrats will not ever, ever stop spending AND that we must elect Anyone But Obama and we must return to pragmatic, moderate fiscal policies. Oh, and to do that we must repeal funding for Obamacare.

    BTW….the word is “sleight” of hand not slight.

  11. Koffler, how about going back to the early days of this Administration. They stole lots of money and the Dems have yet to pass a budget.

    The Republicans are dealing with people who cannot deal with others unless they can get a rubber stamp on their own plans. In case you missed the memo, most Americans are not on the O bandwagon.

    Apparently we will have to take care of this is 2012. One and done.

  12. “The debt limit has to be raised. There is no sane economist who thinks it will not be an economic catastrophe were it not increased. ”

    NO! If the Debt ceiling is raised, voters will take the entire issue ( ishewww to New Yorkers) out of the hands of Congress. The current Jekyll island system was designed to protect bankers at the expense of taxpayers. It can be destroyed by a run on the banks. That has been organised.
    The original Tea Party threw tea off the ships in port. The New Tea Party will be throwing bankers off the ship of state.
    Once the Jekyll island system is destroyed, a new one will be created. NO FIAT Money.
    Raising the debt ceiling will just kick the can down the road. A Bank run will crush the can. Then it gets put in the trash and a new can is introduced.

  13. Your analysis may be right , Keith, but this president tries to get credit in just about every situation. And people are fooled. I hope the republicans hold out longer so that Obama and his bunch starts squirming. I smell some desperation in his shameless Social Security argument. By the way, I find it a little bit strange that media over here are somewhat unconcerned about the American situation. The problems with the southern Euro-countries are much more in focus. Yet if there is a default in the US the consequences will be much more severe globally. Looks like most people here are convinced there will be a raised debt ceiling.

      1. I’m sorry, peeps, but McConnell’s strategy is pure Washington bullshit. Taxes are going up, the only question is whether it is in Obama’s first term or his second. The immaturity of the Tea Party is Obama’s best weapon right now, allowing Bachmann to force the GOP to eat its own while dressing up their own incompetence with a fig leaf of a strategic withdraw (the McConnell 10-point kick the can strategy).

        I don’t know how much hamburger Obama is actually willing to make out of the Demmocrats’ sacred cows, but believe me, if you think the Republican’s are going to get away with protecting the Scrooge McDuck’s of their base from having to endure a higher tax bracket, you are sniffing glue.

        And honestly Republicans: why? Why are you so keen to keep the rich rich? They aren’t creating jobs, they are, in fact, the only ones thriving in this economy. It is folks like the ones posting here who are the productive citizens, having every last drop of sweat squeezed out of them so that companies can avoid hiring.

        Meanwhile, economists say that the real problem with “jump starting” the economy is the lack of predictablity caused by Washington. Give the capitalists some damn predictability, then! Set some new tax rates, let them know what the cost of doing business will actually be, and let them make the adjustments they need to plan their business agendas.

        1. The Republican plan DOES raise taxes on the rich. Why is that so hard for everyone to understand? Probably because our tax system is so damn complicated. Let me try to break it down for you.

          The reforms Republicans are proposing do NOT increase the tax rates and tax brackets. This is true. However, what they DO do is eliminate many loopholes, deductions, and exemptions, with the result that corporations, as well as “the rich”, will pay MORE money in taxes. It lets us get more revenue without raising the tax rates and scaring off businesses. I wish people did a better job explaining that.

          1. What does this mean “scaring off businesses”? I am referring to personal tax rates. And from what I’ve seen, keeping them low for a decade hasn’t done a damn thing. Seen the June jobs report? our “job creators” haven’t done squat in the past year or the past decade except concoct ponzi schemes based on mortgage and credit card debt.

          2. You are kidding right???

            The tax cuts in 2003 led to unemployment rates of 5% for most of the last decade… The economy didn’t start falling to crap until the mortgage market began to collapse… do you really think tax cuts forced sub prime borrows to default?!?

            Please tell me you aren’t that ignorant about how macro economics… but your comment leads me to believe you are a liberal, which most liberals do not seem to grasp some of the most basic of economic princepals.

            Now getting the problem of “rich” people not hiring… Obamacare, and as well as frank/dodd has built so much uncertainty into the economy, how can you blame people for not wanting to hire?! Obama has put a jack boot on the economic neck of America, and it doesn’t look he ever intends to loosen up his death grip.

          3. “5%”? Why, that’s wonderful! Oh wait… it was 4.2% when Bush came into office. But wait, shall we also consider the 7.2% rate Bush left us when he left office? I’m no mathematician, but I’m pretty sure these numbers average out to “suck”.

            I am including all the Masters of the Universe who operate in the world of high finance who benefited from the cuts for the rich amongst those who crashed the economy. It may not be fair, but it sure feels right.

            And there is no jack boot (were you attempting a mixed metaphor?) on the wealthy. Wall Street is going gangbusters, income disparity continues to skyrocket, and not one major scoundrel behind this depression has been pursued by the Justice Department. Bush/Obama went forward with TARP with no strings attached and basically, it has never been a better time to be rich. I am not against entrepreneurs, but the rich are not, by definition, job creators. Obama is rich. Would you call him a job creator?

          4. Most small businesses pay income taxes at “personal tax rates.” While not all rich people are small businesses, most small businesses are rich people, at least in terms of tax brackets. To the IRS, there’s really no difference between the evil and contemptible “rich people” and the laudable, job creating “small businesses.” Any time you say “tax the rich,” you’re really saying “tax small businesses.”

            In your world, who creates jobs? Unions? The Gov’t? Pixies sprinkling magic job dust (which, I believe, is the Obama plan)?

          5. I’m a small business. The smallest: I am self-employed. Believe me, I’m not rich. Most of my clients are small businesses and they are not rich either. And I have not heard a one of them complain that taxes are holding them back (and I do ask).

            Who creates jobs in YOUR world? The very wealthy? Well, where are those jobs? I believe we are having this discussion because they AREN’T creating them. Here is what creates jobs: demand. Demand from consumers for the things they want. But consumers cannot demand anything substantial theses days because for decades their wages have not kept pace with their productivity. This is not even a topic open for debate. If businesses don’t want their profits siphoned in taxes (as if), then they ought to put that money in their employees pockets to spend. But I don’t see them doing that, do you?

          6. But that’s the point, isn’t it? Suppose your business (the one at which you are self-employed) did well enough that you wanted/needed to hire an employee… You’d still be paying personal income tax… would you be “rich” then? Probably not in the “evil rich person” sense, but you might easily be hitting the ~$250K mark at which you’d be a target for the Obama crowd.

            Moreover, what is holding your clients back? Is it the “low” tax rates on “the rich”? Enlighten us!

  14. “But having correctly tried and failed to use the debt ceiling to wring a deal out of Obama, they can now either stage a victorious tactical withdrawal or a frenzied headlong retreat.”

    This is actually a false choice. . .or rather, it ignores a third possibility. The Republicans, many who were primarily elected on a platform of spending cuts, stick to their guns and refuse to budge. After all, there are two sides to this ‘refusal to compromise’ deal. The Democrats are the other half of the equation. They too are refusing to budge, refusing to offer up meaningful cuts to spending. Obama offered up a pretty significant vulnerability with his comment about social security checks this week. He said there’s money, but that it’s his job to determine where the money will go if the debt ceiling isn’t raised. That means it will be HIS decision if those checks don’t go out. The Republicans may choose to call his bluff. . .because if Obama’s administration actually CHOOSES not to send out the checks. . well, he might as well just swear a Republican into the Presidency now.

      1. That means it will be HIS decision if those checks don’t go out. The Republicans may choose to call his bluff. . .because if Obama’s administration actually CHOOSES not to send out the checks. . well, he might as well just swear a Republican into the Presidency now.

        I don’t think it would play that way. His captive media would say that the rich got the money instead of Grandma–or in my case, me, in my SS check, which it took me 43 yrs of work to qualify for, with no break in service. My bro-in-law is a corporate pilot–sure, he flies the boss to Cabo sometimes, but the man also crisscrosses the country to keep his car dealerships open (jobs…remember those?). The big tax break there is faster depreciation of the plane–not a Scrooge McDuck moneybag…and Obama proposed it in the first place. This is all theatre–and pretty rancid performances at that!

      2. Willa, the problem with your absurd comment is the majority of Wall Street politcal donations went to Obama and democrats in the neighborhood of 10 to 1.

        But hey, your rewording of facts is a cute attempt at pushing a silly leftwing agenda.

  15. Hmm. While I have my doubts about the “catastrophy” that awaits by not increasing the debt ceiling, what is being praised here in McConnell’s plan may indeed be brilliant in a purely political sense, but it will do NOTHING (as far as I can tell) to actually solve the problem that we have. And if I am understanding both the problem and the solution that you are praising, it would seem to only make matters worse, by postponing the decisions that need to be made now, all the while running up the deficit. As the overworked metaphor goes, this is merely kicking the can down the road with the only difference being we know exactly whose foot is doing the kicking. I suppose this may be great for political advantage somewhere in the future, but again it does nothing to address the real problem. I would predict a significant electoral backlash to this sort of irresponsibility for the purpose of winning a single political inning.

  16. If you would like to get Obama a second term, don’t raise the debt limit and let the government shutdown. It worked so well for the Republicans against Clinton in 95, I’m sure we’ll have the same results. And that would be just fantastic wouldn’t it?

    1. Aaron this is not 1995,and Obama is no Clinton.Most Americans hate Obamas economic policies and do not think they are working.I would not bet the ranch that a shutdown would hurt the republicans and instead gurantee that Obama is a one term President.

  17. I can’t figure out who is playing whom. Throwing bankers off the ship of state, McConnell is a genius–sometimes you people scare me. Even if Obama “reluctantly” agrees to this weirdass play, he and the press will spin it as another of his “adult” moves, while the rest of us force down our peas and hug our Teddy Bears, while living large on our SS..

  18. “Obama can veto their vote, in which case they need two thirds majorities to override the veto and not raise the debt limit.”
    Not true. Unless there is a positive vote TO raise the ceiling the current ceiling remains law. You can’t veto a bill that does not pass. What McConnell can do is release just enough votes to pass it but allow the majority of the caucus to vote and campaign against

    1. If you pay attention, you will see that they would be passing a law where, if the President requests it, the increase occurs UNLESS a joint resolution passes saying “No.” The law would also allow the President to veto it. So, yes, they CAN set it up in this way.

  19. Hey Jeff and Susan, the GOP already passed a budget, the Senate has not proposed one for over 800 days. That is irresponsible. The GOP did their job already, its the Dems who have done nothing but political gamesmanship. Try to get some facts.

    1. I know the House passed a budget and it was rejected in the Senate with the help of the Maine twins, Scott Brown, Lisa Murkowski, and Rand Paul. Are they even considering Ryan’s budget in this debate?

      1. I’m sure they are, but the problem with Paul Ryan’s budget is that it would still require rasing the debt ceiling this year.

        1. Neither one of us have any idea what they are discussing. Although I did hear that Obama leaked the Medicare reform proposals Cantor put on the table. That is the kind of behavior you would expect from a partisan hack rather than a president managing a crisis.

  20. personally, I don’t believe the debt limit catastrophe claims and don’t give a damn even if they’re true. Because it is SURELY true that unless and until we starve the marxists in DC, it’s only a matter of ‘pay me now or pay me later’.


    1. MT for re-redistribution

      I believe you are right Matt, Catastrophe now or later when u spend more than you have. We’ll all be learning chinese soon.

  21. McConnell is going to be primaried in 2014.

    It’s good that he’s putting the target on his own back, but it was already there.

    Rand Paul defeating McConnell’s pet candidate in the Kentucky US Senate primary last cycle clearly demonstrated McConnell’s standing with the electorate, and the Tea Party. After Hatch and Lugar are primaried and run off next year, McConnell moves directly into the firing line.

  22. I consider myself a principled small-government guy, a libertarian, and a fleeting Tea Party supporter (Santelli Tea Party, not Palin/Bachmann Tea Party).

    This is, truly, a brilliant move, if it sticks.

    The Tea Party needs realists. That doesn’t mean moderates or centrists or Judases. There are other ways to govern intelligently and responsibly without being a “RINO” or other compromised politician. Play to your strengths, but EXPLOIT YOUR OPPONENTS’ WEAKNESSES. Obama is weak on spending, deficits and debt. Pin that sh** on him, and maybe you get YOUR guy in that office.

    If you want intellectual purity, go to a communist bookclub or a whorehouse.

  23. Come on McConnell and the Redumblicns wimped out they are gutless pussies. Boner could not even get the idiotic light bulb law repealed when Pelosi was able to shove through everything Otraitor wanted.

  24. Your sick patient analogy is apropos, but incorrectly applied.

    If the patient is going to die anyway, then it is far better to “kill” (by which I mean stop treating), than to continue treatment that can only cause additional suffering before death. Thus, the killing the debt ceiling increase could be a good thing afterall.

    1. Maybe if you have some sort of forcefield-protected compound with a gold standard economy to flee to, John. Barring that, I’d say that if the most powerful nation on earth defaulted on its debts, ie., could no longer borrow, well, how could that be anything but bad? We’ve still got two wars to finish losing, and bribes to Pakistan don’t stuff themselves into envelopes.

      Freedom isn’t free, but war is hella expensive! The bill has come due, conservatives, and Bush’s trickle down tax cuts only reduced revenue. Why is that so hard for you to admit?

      1. Death Ray, you dont know anything about economics or politics,stay off the boards until you have read some more and stop regurgitating the democratic Kool aid.

  25. Pingback: Debt Ceiling, Dan Savage, China on Human Rights, Singer and Lennox Debate, and More Mahaney – The Morning Report, 7/13/11 | Philosophical Fragments

  26. Sorry pal. You have been in the Beltway too long. The BASE is already fuming that Mitch would give any any out for Obama and the Dems. The Pubs actually have the high ground here. 24% of the Public does not WANT THE CEILING HIKED. Don’t you read anything aside from the Beltway media?? The public is behind the Pubs for once. That is why the WH is in such dire confusion and are smearing all who want a cut in taxes, spending and regs. Every issue that Bama has proposed is losing in the polls and poor Mitch, thinks the public wants another clever law to give the Prez , this regime, more power??Oh puleeze. You may be an independent but you are as much a dunce as the rest of the MSM.

  27. Remember, Mitch McConnell is the guy who had to be dragged into eliminating earmarks kicking and screaming. Big Government Republican Establishment RINO.

    We’re tired of “clever” tricks that accomplish nothing, increase the debt and result in phantom spending decreases to take place in the year 2387.

  28. Politics is comedy, and this time somebody had to take the fall. The reality is that controlling one house of congress was not sufficient to gain any real momentum on Obama.

    I would like to point out though that Default at the Federal Level is actually impossible:

    “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.”
    (14th Amendment, Section 4a)

  29. First of all this is either the shrewdest poker play ever or one of the dumbest folds ever. Now which is it? I’m not sure, but both points of view are being represented. This is almost like a clay court tennis match where both players are waiting for the other to make an unforced error. I’m usually in favor the aggressive move, but I do remember 1995 and do not want to see a replay of that where the Republicans got all the blame. An Obama second term would be much worse than a Clinton second term. I’l go with the phrase “Whatever works”

    As for the person who said McConnell will be primaried: You’re wrong. I think this is his last term, voluntarily, especially if there is a Republican president in 2014. He’ll be 72, and probably will have had enough by then. If this happens and disaster happens he’ll just step down like other Senators do and announce he won’t run.

    As for the person who said

  30. If the President were as politically savvy as McConnell he could have won his reelection this week. Instead he is poised to pull himself and the Senate majority down next year. The die hard Tea Party types are all crying now, but they will be all smles when this is done. The truth is President Obama went too far out on a limb yesterday when he answered Pelley’s question about Social Security checks. He should have said he would do whatever necessary to protect them. Now McConnell steps in and says “I can save the seniors” while forcing the President to make a bunch of unpopular decisions throughout the election year. This idea will never pass because the President will now be forced to cave to Boehner’s option offered over the weekend. Both are political suicide, but the Boehner option gives someone a chance to save the President from himself.

    1. That interview and that question was staged from the get go. Pure propaganda. McConnell is putting party politics over country with his dumb plan. It will never pass the House, and it makes McConnell look weak.

  31. This president is pathetically in over his head. We are looking at total ruin of this once great Republic. But I guess as long as POTUS can play golf and host Motown parties, his life is fine. As for telling the American people that he can’t guarantee Social Security checks will go out on August 3rd, well, that’s another of his patently outrageous lies, although I’m sure some will buy into it. If you take the time to do your home work, you’ll find the tax money is rolling in and there is certainly enough $$ to meet the government’s obligations. The sky is not falling. Repubs, stand strong!

  32. The hypocrisy not discussed relates to Social Security. If as the politicians in the past have snarled and growled about how great social security is and talked of the lock box concept to argue for continued government running of social security.

    Granny’s check would not be in question if the system were not part of the general budget being used for many programs other than social security and grandma. All the more reason to privatize this system.

  33. Nice analysis. The face-saver everyone needs now with a hook in it. But will the fish take the bait?

    I think the gun metaphor is a little off though. Speaker Boehner needs only remain calm and present the President with the gun, saying, “here’s the gun, dear. The law allows me to give it to you and I feel I must. But you have to decide which of the kids to shoot and you have to pull the trigger. You’ve seen Sophie’s Choice? It’s like that. But not quite so serious. By the way, the law also says it can’t be Susie, since she’s our little bondholder (and that Constitution thing says she has to be the last one to go. You know that. You used to teach a course.) But after that it’s “go for bad.” I suppose I should note–because of your rhetoric v. reality issues– you don’t have to shoot them really. Stiffing them on their allowances or renting out their bedrooms would work just as well. But whatever you choose to do, it has to be your choice. That’s why we all married you.

    How we the people will take it all is anybody’s guess, but them’s the facts. Speaker Boehner has been doing a bang-up job in leadership in all this. Maybe he’s the one who could give us a short Civics lesson since the instructor-in-chief appears to have gone AWOL. Naturally if he has any sense, he’ll steer clear of gun metaphors, family metaphors and any reference to Sophie’s Choice.

  34. Don Meredith said it best, “Turn out the lights, the party’s over.” Washington lifers need to bend over and kiss their assets goodbye.

  35. Pingback: Obama Has a Hissy Fit, Walks Out! | The Blog on Obama: White House Dossier

  36. But then we would miss out on all the fun of seeing what happens when the government runs out of other people’s money.

  37. The idiot dems just don’t get it. How could they? They NEVER take a position as a matter of principle (only political expedience), so they couldn’t possibly understand that this isn’t a ploy. Simple: government is WAY too big, FAR too overreaching and intrusive, and people are tired of having their taxes raised to support the government entering their homes, businesses, and childrens’ minds. So when people (meaning the people who actually PAY taxes) say “NO MORE TAX INCREASES”, they are simply saying what they mean, and meaning what they say. Got it, dummicrats? I guess not.

    1. Just out of curiosity, and seeing as how both Ds and Rs have rallied around keeping the Bush cuts in place for the Holy Middle Class, just whose tax rates are you defending? They can’t possibly be your own, because no one is seeking to increase them.

      Please explain to me why the rich–who have enjoyed a decades-long tax holiday in which their wealth has multiplied even as the Middle Class has dissolved like an Alka Seltzer floating in Alien blood–should not, at long last, have to suffer higher taxes to pay for things like the wars abroad and TARP? What benefit do you yourself reap from the Great Income Divide?

  38. As Obama said, “elections have consequences”.

    Sorry to blow your argument out of the water, but the last election held in this country resulted in the largest loss of power during a mid-term election since the Depression. The American people have had more than enough of this President who knows only one thing – spend like a drunken sailor and leave it to whoever is running the country after him to deal with the collapse. He has displayed zero leadership on the issue, instead increasing Government spending literally by trillions then refusing to reduce the wealth transfer to his constituents/looting of everyone else. If he wants to raise taxes, fine, tax unions.

    1. “The American people have had more than enough of this President who knows only one thing – spend like a drunken sailor and leave it to whoever is running the country after him to deal with the collapse.”

      You’re talking about Bush there, right? I mean, how could anyone deliver such a quote and be oblivious as to how perfectly, how flawlessly it applies to the last President.

      Ah, but to grasp such a point, one would have to have a memory of the last administration, and the Republicans didn’t waste any time tossing the lesson of Dubya and the Rubber Stamp Congress down the memory hole.

      But back to Obama: “wealth transfer to his constituents”? Who would that be, Lehman Bros? Because the largest transfer of wealth in history that I have observed in my lifetime is the bank bailout. Seriously, what do you MEAN? What actual spending of dollars are you referring to? Obama has increased defense spending, not reduced it, he has given public dollars to the rich, not the poor (that would be TARP. Remember the taxpayer funded bonuses?), he has lowered taxes (cut the payroll tax and sustained the Bush tax cuts), so really… who has he actually spread the wealth around to? Give me a single example where the very rich have not prospered more under Obama than the poor.

      Have YOUR taxes gone up? Please, would anyone who bitches about Obama the Taxocrat give an example of their taxes going up? Hands up, people! How many people here have experienced a tax hike under Obama? You may have to think outside your rheotoric on this one, people.

  39. Who gets the credit / blame for the macroeconomy: the President OR the Congress ? Any sane political scientist would answer: the President. Assuming that the “sky will fall” when this or that does not happen, ultimately the President will take the blame for what happens. Moreover, how many times have we heard (from Democrats, primarily) that President George H. Bush broke his “no new taxes” pledge? If President Obama works out a deal in which the GOP House raises taxes, then the GOP will hear no end to Democratic rallying cries of the “Republicans LIED and RAISED taxes during a RECESSION.” The best GOP strategy is to stick to the NO TAX INCREASE position. (Recent polling data confirms this last point.)

    1. Ooo, the Republican’s are in for a surprise, me thinks.

      First off, it will be far easier for hundreds of Republican congresspeople to endure some sort of “read my lips” blowback than it would be for one president. After all, not every Republican will have to cast that vote, and the ones in safer districts/states will be able to let it roll off their backs.

      Secondly, the “don’t raise taxes during a recession” mantra is really meant to apply to taxes on consumers, ie. the Middle Class. There is really no defensible position for not socking it to the wealthy, especially when they are riding so high in the saddle right now.

      Lastly, with Batshit Bachmann serving as the face of obstruction on this issue, with her saying that leaving the debt ceiling alone won’t matter beans while one rating agency after another is painting the US as a potential Greece, I’d say that the Tea Party had better grow up or shut up.

  40. Pingback: Sarah Palin Mitch McConnells Plan: Old-Fashioned Constitutional Thinking? Only Congress Has Power of Purse Strings | Maggie's Notebook

  41. Keith….if you think McConnels plan is a good plan, then I seriously question your ability to analyze strategies.

    Contrary to your view, McConnells plan is a disaster waiting to happen put forth by a man whose actions show an inability to lead and a desire to abdicate. When our elected officials such as McConnell take that stance, it’s time for them to leave public office.

    McConnell’s plan abdicates responsibility he and his party have to hold the line on “no tax increases” and to ensure any cuts are “REAL”, being tied to real personnel, real programs, real authorizations and real entitlements. It also abdicates his responsibility to ensure there is no fiscal fraud associated with cuts linked to bogus inflationary indices connected to programs that will decrease in cost, on their own, with or without a debt deal. McConnell’s plan also lays the groundwork for the destruction of the Republican Party, as millions like me will leave the party in droves if it gets approved. Here’s what you’re missing in your analysis:

    – McConnell’s plan lets the President chose 100% of the cuts, and in the end, they cannot be changed unless the Congress over-rides his veto and we all know this won’t happen.

    – That said, this means the President will choose cuts that are guaranteed to either; 1) never materialize or 2) that take effect so far into the future that another Congress will cancel them. Those cuts that do survive future attempts to cancel them will never materialize because they will have been created using “fraudulent inflationary indices”. As an example: Obama will extrapolate the rising cost of the Afghan war and attribute any of these savings to “savings” he must show when he raises the debt ceiling. These are “bogus” savings because those same savings will be realized with or without a debt reduction deal as war costs decrease due to already scheduled troop withdrawals. When all is said and done, McConnell’s plan will give us $2.4 trillion in GUARANTEED additional spending and virtually no reductions. This plan is a disaster waiting to happen.

    – McConnell would also have us believe that after $2.4 trillion is spent and few savings have been realized, that the Republican Party will some how be “immunized” against any conservative backlash associated with this plan! In reality, when the Republicans try to take cover in their claim that “we voted it down but just didn’t have the votes to override the President”, unlike the Congress, the public won’t have amnesia and will remember all too well that it was the Republicans plan that then put themselves in this position of not being to override the veto and the it will all track right back to the stinking swail hole where this foolish bill originated: the Republican party. At that point, the Republican Party as we know it, will cease to exist as millions like me will desert it to form a new party or to join the Tea Party.

    – Bottom line: Add this up and you’ve got all the components of a train wreck waiting to happen fueled by poor decision making by a man (McConnell) who has spent far too much time in the Senate and who needs to retire.
    McConnell has chosen to neither “lead” or to “follow” so not it’s time for him to “get out of the way”.

    1. Super comment Joe. Spot on in accuracy and fact. If the Republicans think thy can be the author of the same bill that then puts them into a position where they have to veto any bill, and then claim “immunity” when we get screwed on this same bill, MAN are they delusional and sadly mistaken! At that point, we all bail on the Republican Party. GOODBYE Party!!!

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  43. The House will pass the cut/cap/balance proposal this week. The Senate will not pass that bill. That leaves no other proposal whatsoever, except for the Mitch McConnell proposal. Reid and McCain are on board with McConnell, so the McConnell plan will likely pass the Senate. The House democrats will vote for the McConnell bill and some republicans to boot.

    QUESTION: How many House republicans will vote against the McConnell bill?

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