In this blog post, Ross Douthat acknowledges that GOP members of Congress who want to engage in budget brinkmanship over the debt ceiling have the potential to "throw the country into crisis." He acknowledges that they're "risking chaos." So he sincerely understands why some people want the administration to mint a trillion-dollar platinum coin in order to avert this possibility.
But doing that would be equally irresponsible, you see, according to Douthat. It would be "tit-for-tat nuttiness." It would be "the other side counter[ing] with a wave of irresponsibility of its own."
Why? Not because the minting of the coin would cause any harm in and of itself. It would be "nuttiness" and "irresponsibility" because it would make those crazy Republicans crazy. And that, you see, would be the Democrats' fault:
If Republicans were successful in portraying coin-minting as a Bond villain scheme rather than a legitimate policy move -- and I really, really think they would be, no matter how the media covered it -- then it's hard to see the markets maintaining any kind of equilibrium while the White House used [this] maneuver.... The coin would still court some sort of economic calamity, in other words, while raising the odds that Obama rather than the Republicans would be blamed for it.In fact, Douthat is already blaming them for it.
So to sum up: Some Republicans want to do a crazy thing that could have calamitous consequences. But the White House shouldn't use a clever ruse to stop the crazy Republicans, because then the crazy Republicans will get crazy another way, and that could have calamitous consequences. And if Republicans were to do that irresponsible thing, Democrats would be to blame ... for nihilistic Republican irresponsibility.
Douthat never acknowledges that making Obama look like a Bond villain in response to the platinum coin ruse would be a Republican war of choice against the fiscal stability of the United States. Republicans don't have to do this. They could just accept that we live in a democracy and the White House responded to a dangerous impasse with a creative solution. That would leave the nation's full faith and credit intact. It gets blown up at that point only if Republicans make a big deal of it, in Douthat's scenario.
But no. According to Douthat, it's the Democrats' fault if Obama finds a way to avert a debt crisis and Republicans have a market-jolting freakout that causes the solution to fail. And why not? Everything is the Democrats' fault, including Republicans being sociopathic, right?