Debt Ceiling: The Sequel
Color me crazy but I have to admit there was a small portion of my feral brain that believed that, somehow, Republicans would behave just a little better post-election. Silly me.
Rather than moderating, the batshit-crazy elements of the GOP are now flying in formation, practicing for their next blitzkrieg on the nation. To make matters worse, one of the senators from my own state, Pat Toomey (R-PA) is playing a starring role in Debt Ceiling: the Sequel. For him, it’s actually a reprise of his previous “What? Me Worry” role from the last GOP hostage-taking which was designed to inflict maximum harm, before caving, and doing what they know they have to do anyway.
But that’s showbiz . . . You’ll recognize the basic plot of Debt Ceiling: The Sequel as the same fiendishly clever two-pronged approach in which half of Republicans threaten to throw the government into default, while the other half claim that defaulting really isn’t that big a deal. Simpleminded but effective with low-info voters and colleagues.
Speaker Boehner, of course, is once again cast as the Ideological Man of Steel bound to strike fear in the bleeding hearts of liberals.
On Friday morning, meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told members that he was prepared to use the debt ceiling fight as leverage to get spending cuts. According to a source in the room, Boehner showed fellow lawmakers the results of a survey by the Winston Group, a GOP polling firm, which showed that 72 percent of Americans “agree any increase in the nation’s debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of a greater amount.” [My emphasis]
“The debate is already under way,” the speaker said.
Will they ever learn? They go out and commission a poll from the Brothers Grimm and believe they have a mandate. Simple arithmetic tells us that if
72 percent of Americans agree any increase in the nation’s debt limit must be accompanied by spending cuts and reforms of a greater amount
that 72% has to include at least 25% of the 53% of Americans who approve of how the President is doing his job. The same President who, when he announced his unwillingness to negotiate over the debt ceiling, saw his approval rating climb.
Meanwhile, John Cornyn (R-TX) reprised his supporting role with an Op-Ed in the Houston Chronicle:
Republicans are more determined than ever to implement the spending cuts and structural entitlement reforms that are needed to secure the long-term fiscal integrity of our country.
The coming deadlines will be the next flashpoints in our ongoing fight to bring fiscal sanity to Washington. It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain. President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.
Rambo, move aside . . .
Next up is my man Toomey, calm, cool and collected—no “Chicken Little,” he:
“We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown - which is what that could mean,” said Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA) on MSNBC Wednesday.
“A temporary disruption because we have to furlough the workers at the Department of Education, or close down some national parks, or not cut the grass on the Mall, that’s not optimal, it’s disruptive, but it’s a hell of a lot better than the path that we’re on.”
Really, Sen. Toomey? Seriously? “Better than the path we’re on”? The path of well-documented economic recovery? The path of a decreasing deficit? That path? You’ve got a better one?
We Republicans “need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown”? What about “we the people” who put you in office? Shouldn’t you “Republicans” be asking us what we are willing to tolerate? Isn’t that how our government works?
Frankly, and unfortunately, the answer seems to be “No,” these days . . . Republicans are behaving more like an adolescent street gang enraged that they’re losing fights and credibility to someone they think is a punk. And they’re bringing all of the psychological tools of arrested development to bear on getting their own misguided way.
This Republican Party is one of the biggest national security threats we’re dealing with as a country. Their desire to sink President Obama is so strong and irrational that they are willing to tear down the Republic rather than allow him to succeed.
These terrorists played with our fragile recovering economy like a live grenade up to the eleventh hour on the “fiscal cliff” which they engineered. Now they are lusting to do it again, like bad children craving negative attention if that’s all they can get.
Advancing the arguments that Republicans appear to hold, on the debt ceiling, means that they are either fiscal ignoramuses or liars. I, personally, don’t believe Republicans are as simpleminded as their strategies suggest—it still takes a certain amount of native intelligence to get the job. They are not stupid . . . but they sure think we are!
And we, the people, are going to have to make it clear to them that we’re not that gullible or self-destructive. We, the survivors of the economic mess they created, need to fight one more fight on the ground. We must do anything—Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, phone calls, emails—but we must make certain that Republican office-holders know that they no longer represent anything other than a pathological animus that we will not allow to destroy the country they’ve sworn to protect.