Wednesday, August 03, 2011


Michael Shear, writing for The New York Times:

If there was any doubt that Washington's acrimonious debt fight created a new political reality, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky dashed it on Tuesday....

"Never again will any president, from either party, be allowed to raise the debt ceiling without being held accountable for it by the American people and without having to engage in the kind of debate we’ve just come through," Mr. McConnell said moments before the Senate vote on the deal he worked out to raise the debt ceiling by $2.1 trillion.

... it's not only Republican members of Congress who might take advantage of the debt ceiling.

Given the proven power of the issue, it is not hard to imagine a future in which a Democratic minority finds it in their interests to advance a top priority by threatening to hold up a debt ceiling increase for a Republican president....

It's not hard to imagine a future in which Democrats play hardball? Ridiculous. It's incredibly hard to imagine a future in which Democrats play hardball. In fact, it's impossible to imagine such a future, unless we someday have a Democratic Party so different from the current one that we can't even recognize it as a descendant.

Over what? A war? Sure, we finally established, in 2006 and 2008, that opposing a war wasn't instant political suicide for Democrats, but use the debt ceiling to try to end a war and you'll be met by cries of You're not supporting the troops!!! (Even if that means you're not supporting the right of the troops to die in a military exercise that's pointless.)

To save Social Security and Medicare? Every Deeply Serious Person in America will just tell you they're unsustainable. Half of your own party will abandon such an effort if it's linked to debt.

Oh, and besides, the public still thinks all debt problems can be solved by cutting waste. So it'll never happen.

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