Monday, August 01, 2011

I Can't Look

I can't even bring myself to look at the details of the debt ceiling "compromise". It infuriates me that we had to give into a bunch of immature thugs who decided holding the country's economy hostage was the best way to secure draconian cuts to government while the working class continues to struggle.

And it could have been avoided if we simply were willing to realize that one major political party is not comprised of members fit to govern. As Paul Krugman points out, the reason the President didn't get a debt ceiling extension in December was because he was convinced Republicans would act responsibly. Hind-sight may be 20-20, but it is rapidly becoming apparent that that's always the wrong answer.

The debt ceiling scandal (and frankly, that's what this is -- a scandal) has revealed a Republican Party split into three branches:

(1) Those who knew that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would be a catastrophe but were too spineless to stand up to the rest of their party. Exemplified by Rep. John Boehner (R-OH).

(2) Those who knew that refusing to raise the debt ceiling would be a catastrophe and who relished the idea of exploiting that fact for their own political gain. Exemplified by Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).

(3) Those who really didn't grasp that voluntarily defaulting on our debt would be the economic equivalent of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Exemplified by Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN).

The cowardly, the avaricious, and the delusional. Ladies and gentlemen, your modern GOP.

Boehner is bragging at the massive success Republicans reaped for these tactics -- and he's right. When one party cares about the economic future of the country, and one party made it abundantly clear they're willing to shoot the hostage if it comes to that, what can you do? How do you stop yourself from getting rolled again?

The only thing I can think of is for Obama to start throwing elbows. The Senate can't do squat with McConnell's auto-filibuster policy, so it has to come from the White House. And I don't mean Oval Office speeches with a slightly raised voice. I mean the force of the executive branch. Recess appointments, new agency regulations designed to piss of the right, and take the leash off the DOJ on politically sensitive topics like corruption and the VRA. The minute this deal is signed -- because, horrible as I'm sure it is (any deal that isn't "a clean increase" is horrible to me), it has to be signed -- it's time to send a message back. You pull a knife on the American economy, we pull a gun on Republican priorities.

No more mister nice President.

2 comments:

andrewpcole said...

Kid gloves need to come off. They should have been off on Nov. 3, 2010, if not earlier. Hopefully this will teach Obama that making concessions up front weakens his bargaining position and caving only emboldens these thugs.

That being said, I don't have a lot of faith that the president learned his lesson. If we want him to start throwing elbows, we should make it clear that if he doesn't he'll lose his job. That's the only language pols really speak, and it's the language that convinced Obama tacking to the right on the budget was the right thing to do. Primary challenge, third-party candidate, whatever it takes, Obama and the Democratic Party in general ought to learn that if you fuck with the base, you will lose elections. Ideally I'd prefer a viable alternative now, but I'm willing to lose the presidency in 2012 if it means we get better options in 2016. In the meantime, Dems can use divided government and the Senate to mitigate any damage coming from President Romney/Perry/Bachmann.

PG said...

In fairness, it's the rest of the GOP and Jon Huntsman, though the latter's latest act of sanity has probably sealed his fate as being too identified with the Obama Administration to be a plausible Republican candidate.

The minute this deal is signed -- because, horrible as I'm sure it is (any deal that isn't "a clean increase" is horrible to me), it has to be signed -- it's time to send a message back.

But Obama didn't want a "clean increase." He wanted a grand bargain for long term debt reduction that would ease the concerns of the credit rating agencies, which have been saying from the get-go that what made them nervous about the U.S. was our partisan inability to make needed reforms because nobody wants to be accused of running death panels.