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Sunday, January 13, 2013

WHAT OBAMA PLANS TO DO, AND WHAT HE'LL ACTUALLY DO

Paul Krugman has been supporting the platinum coin option as an end-run around Republican debt-ceiling terrorism, so he's dismayed by the latest news:
If I'd spent the past five years living in a monastery or something, I would take the Treasury Department's declaration that the coin option is out as a sign that there's some other plan ready to go. Maybe 14th Amendment, maybe moral obligation coupons or some other form of scrip, something.

And maybe there is a plan.

But as we all know, the last debt ceiling confrontation crept up on the White House because Obama refused to believe that Republicans would actually threaten to provoke default. Is the WH being realistic this time, or does it still rely on the sanity of crazies?

... is there a plan, or will it just be another case of tough talk followed by a tail-between-the-legs retreat?

As I said, if we didn't have some history here I might be confident that the administration knows what it's doing. But we do have that history, and you have to fear the worst.
I think Obama has really, really decided he's not going to negotiate over this. No, seriously: he means it this time. I think he's persuaded that Republicans will be blamed in the event of a crisis. So I think he'll dig in his heels for much, much longer than anyone expects. I think we'll come very close to the brink. In the end, I think the Republicans won't get the set of concessions they expect to wrest from him.

But I think that, once Republicans have figured out that he's not joking, some negotiating channel will open up. Maybe Joe Biden will be involved.

And yes, the deal won't be as nasty as the Republicans thought they could make it. No, it won't be a horrible Grand Bargain. But there'll be a deal, and parts of it will make us lefties furious.

That's Obama now. He's a better negotiator than he used to be, but he lets up on the pressure near the end (kind of the way he let up on Romney in the first debate). So he'll do better than he did the last time this happened, but he'll still give us reasons to grumble.

3 comments:

  1. I hope you're wrong, Steve - though FSM know, you have ample reason to think that way.

    I think that after the last Debt Ceiling charade, and the ensuing downgrade of the countries credit rating, that Obama's hoping that the money people behind the Republican Party will put enough pressure on their members in Congress, that, if not before, then at the end, they'll all fall in line and concede.

    Now, I'll grant you that those same 67 Teabagging morons who refused to vote for Sandy relief will probably stay firm and not fall in line, but I'm not sure how many of the rest of the Republicans will decide to join those feckin' idjits on the outside - and, maybe there might be enough to get in line to avoid any crisis, if there was any real leadership left.

    The main problem is, who would they fall in line behind?

    Boehner, it won't be.
    Cantor, it won't be - he's the leader of the Krazy Keystone Kop Kongress.
    And, neither will it be Ryan. He's got his eyes on the ultimate prize - the Presidency.
    And McConnell can't do it from the Senate - he's afraid of a primary challenge in '14.

    THAT, at least as I see it, may be the problem!

    If Boehner had any credibility left, despite the "Plan B' debacle, then he might be the one. But, he has none.
    McConnell might have been, if he'd just been reelected.

    But now, there's nobody.

    This is a steerable ship.
    Not particularly wanting to come to port at all, but not completely unwilling, or incapable, either - it's looking for a Captain capable enough to get them where they want to go to avoid blame, with the minimum amount of PR damage to their Conservative bona fides.

    But, this may be what causes another credit rating downturn.

    If I was President Obama, I'd be willing to take the risk.

    In the time remaining, he needs to keep pressing that, what the Republicans in Congress don't want to do, is pay for what they have already approved in their legislation.

    If they want to be the "Daddy Party," and, "The Party of Adults," he needs to turn that whole BS 'Family Budget' argument against the Republicans, and spend every day reminding the Congress, and the voters, that, real Daddies," and real "Adults," pay their feckin' bills.
    And that THAT'S, what this is ALL about.

    I'm just not sure that President Obama and the Democrats are capable of framing this that way.

    Oh, what I wouldn't give, for better Democratic 'messaging!!!'




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  2. I've been giving him the benefit of the doubt for too long now to stop. I'm not so sure the fourteenth is a closed option. I may have missed it, but haven't seen a diffinitive No, and I were running a bluff I might just back and wait for one of the winger web-sites calls for my impeachment were I to fail to evoke the fourteenth (as I noted earlier this morning) to "reconsider".

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  3. I'm not sure the president will fold this time. He views this as a Separation of Powers issue. He doesn't think one Branch of Government should be able to Blackmail another Branch of Government this way. David Corn wrote about this. The prez gets very angry when he discusses it Corn says; even now. We'll see how pissed he still is about the Budget Control Act.........

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