Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Before the House GOP decided to try to scent-mark the Senate plan by adding its own provisions, BooMan looked at what the Senate was cooking up and thought it would bring the crazies to heel once and for all:
The deal itself, as it has been outlined, ... doesn't officially remove the Republicans' ability to reprise another debt ceiling crisis, nor does it preclude them from causing another government shutdown. But the Democrats will be only too happy to go through this process again next year, closer to the midterm elections. If the Republicans haven't learned their lesson, the electoral consequences will be quite rewarding for the Democrats.

The concessions under discussion are half imaginary (income verification for ObamaCare subsidies) and half a favor to labor unions (a delay in employer reinsurance requirements). Neither will incentivize the Republicans to make a repeat performance of their auto-da-fé.

The end result of this shutdown will be a victory nearly as decisive as the one the Russians achieved at Stalingrad. I can imagine a bigger win, but I have no real complaints.

I think, with this, the fever that started with 2010 midterm election results will finally be broken....
Greg Sargent has reported that Democrats are having similar thoughts:
... Senate Democratic aides tell me they think the possibility that conservatives will insist on another round of debt limit brinksmanship is very real. But they think they're on the verge of rendering any such threat an entirely empty one. The idea: Decoupling the debt limit from the budget talks, and placing the debt limit deadline further out, will effectively isolate the debt limit debate and make another default extortion crisis even harder politically. By refusing any meaningful concessions in exchange for a debt limit hike this time -- and earlier this year -- Dems will have finally killed the "Boehner Rule" (which demands spending cuts in exchange for any hike) and driven home that GOP debt ceiling extortion will never be rewarded again.
Salon's Joan Walsh worries that small concessions are enough to fuel the notion that extortion is a successful strategy:
I worry that granting Republicans even tiny tweaks to the ACA would seem to do what the president and Democratic leaders promised they wouldn't: reward debt-ceiling/shutdown hostage-taking, however modestly. If such a deal gets through the House in any way -- and that is not a given, at all -- trust Speaker John Boehner and other leaders to hype those changes as major concessions. And that's the point of giving them anything in the first place, I presume.

But I don't know why we'd assume that the default-denying, Confederate flag-tolerant, flat-earth caucus of the GOP would come away from this experiment in political terrorism chastened. They don't believe the polls, which are dreadful for them. They are capable of living on bread and water and fantasy, politically. In their Fox News bubble, it’s always sunny in Tea Party land, so if they are forced to suffer this "defeat" -- almost certainly with Democratic votes in the House -- why would we assume they’d learn their lesson and just go away? I can imagine even Sen. Ted Cruz reassuring the rubes who are writing him checks that he's "won" this round -- and the next round will be even better.
I'm a natural pessimist, so my thinking is more like Walsh's. No, let me rephrase that: I question whether there's any outcome whatsoever that will calm the crazies down.

BooMan and Senate Democratic aides think that if we give Republicans only a little in return for their efforts, they'll decide this sort of brinkmanship isn't worth it. (To that end, Democrats are said to be rejecting the changes House Republicans want to make in the Senate plan.) Walsh thinks giving Republicans anything at all emboldens them for the future.

I think it doesn't matter whether they get a lot, a little, or nothing -- they're so crazy and so angry and so safe in their gerrymandered districts and so impervious to ideas that originate outside the Fox News bubble that any outcome will leave them just as ready to extort again in a few months as any other outcome. Give them a win and they'll say their plan worked. Give them crumbs and they'll say they'd have won big if the quisling sellouts in their party had only fought harder. Give them nothing and they'll say the country has gone over the edge into Kenyan socialist madness and the only hope now is for them to redouble their efforts.

The only thing that's going to stop them is to expunge as many of them as possible from office. Donors from the mainstream business community would have to be as ruthless in trying to defeat teabaggers as crazy billionaires have been in trying to defeat "RINOs."

That's not going to happen. John Boehner knows it's not going to happen. He knows the crazies are still vastly more likely to subject a non-crazy Republican to a primary in 2014 than the other way around. That's why he's still letting the crazies drive the process in the House, instead of telling them to take the Senate deal and suck it up.

And until it happens, the crazies will feel bulletproof and the non-crazies will need adult diapers to cope with chronic pants-wetting. Nothing Democrats can do to them will change that.


Phil Perspective said...

I actually agree with you on this one. ;-)

Victor said...

With their Reich-Wing echo-chamber, and gerrymandered districts, the House Republicans feel invincible.

And these aren't exactly deep thinkers, so non-optimal consequences beyond "WIN!!!", enter into their tiny angry, fear and hate filled minds.

Knight of Nothing said...

Do you think Obama is holding the platinum coin option in reserve? I know he said he isn't, but if he is, doing so at the last minute would kind of pull the rug out from under the crazies. Or not.

I think aimai actually had the last word on all of this.

Steve M. said...

I suspect some federal judge appointed by Reagan or one of the Bushes would rule the platinum coin (or the 14th Amendment option) unconstitutional, just because it's Obama. But maybe he'll try anyway. He wouldn't want to hint at it now, though, because he wants the GOP to think there's no alternative to a deal or default.

Knight of Nothing said...

As far as not hinting at it, yeah, that's what Josh Barro over at Business Insider was saying too. But now that you say it, Obama's probably not considering it for the reason you cite: some fossilized judge would likely rule against it and/or the outrage noise would be deafening.

A buddy of mine just mused on the magic social media machine that since Gohmert called defaulting an "impeachable offense," he must be in favor of the President invoking the 14th Amendment or minting the coin. So there's that :-)

Primigenius said...

Nothing short of secession will appease the crazies. Deja vu much?

Ten Bears said...

The coin solves a problem no one want's solved.

No fear.