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.