Tuesday, October 15, 2013


It looks as if Harry Reid and Mitch McConnell have got a deal in the works that could get through the Senate:
An emerging deal to reopen the government and raise the nation's debt ceiling until February gathered political momentum Monday evening after Senate Republicans signaled they would likely support it.

Lawmakers and aides said the legislation would fund the government until Jan. 15 and extend the nation's borrowing authority until February but leave ObamaCare largely untouched.

One senior Senate aide said it would raise the debt ceiling until Feb. 7 while another said Feb. 15 remains a possibility.

It would also establish a Senate-House budget committee to craft a replacement for the automatic spending cuts known as sequestration, which would have to report its work product to Congress by Dec. 13....
I'm no Mitch McConnell fan, but I give him some credit -- he's facing a tough reelection fight in 2014, he has a tea party primary challenger, he's being attacked by the high-profile Senate Conservatives Fund (which was founded by Jim DeMint in his pre-Heritage days), and so you'd think this would be a political risk for Mitch. If so, he's actually putting his career at some risk on behalf of his country.

Are you paying attention, John Boehner?

I assume this Senate deal will be delayed by Ted Cruz, who has the right to call for a full thirty hours of debate on the proposal -- thanks in advance, Ted, for reinforcing the message that this is a Republican/teabagger crisis -- and we'll go a short way past the default deadline, but not enough to cause irreversible cataclysmic problems. Senate Republicans are signaling that they want to sign on to the deal, so I think it will pass the Senate.

Then there's the House. I see that House Crazy Caucus Republicans had a secret meeting last night with Cruz:
Citing unnamed sources, Roll Call reported that Cruz and "roughly 15 to 20 House Republicans" met for about two hours in the basement of Tortilla Coast, a Tex-Mex restaurant on Capitol Hill....

Attendees reportedly included Reps. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), Steve King (R-IA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Raúl R. Labrador (R-ID), Steve Southerland II (R-FL), Mark Meadows (R-NC) and Justin Amash (R-MI).
Somewhere in the period of Cruz's delay and the House GOP's threat to block the deal in that chamber, U.S. and global stock markets are going to go into free fall. These won't be irreversible plummets -- they'll just be a warning shot across Boehner's bow.

I think he'll respond then -- but I'm not sure. He's put his Speakership above all else so far. It may take more pressure from the business mainstream, either against Crazy Caucus members or on behalf of non-crazies. That kind of pressure seems slow in coming, but I think the prospect of default will concentrate minds.

So I think this will end -- for a few months. This is a short-term deal, after all. We'll be back in crisis again in a few months.


We need a bill or a constitutional amendment that removes this kind of brinkmanship from our system permanently. I'm not saying that such a bill could be enacted right now -- but one should be written.

It needs a catchy, memorable name. And then every Democrat in America should run on supporting it. Non-crazy Republicans are free to run on it as well, as well as independents. I think it could catch on. I think Democrats running on it in relatively safe Republican districts could surprise their opponents, just on the basis of being in favor of running the government like grown-ups. America hates this. (Or at least non-tea-party America does.)

Come on, folks, take the initiative. Make that the choice: crisis or crisis-free -- which side are you on? Make this the key issue for 2014.


UPDATE: Well, I left out the part where House crazies, presumably with Ted Cruz goading them on, declare the deal unacceptable before it could even be finalized by the Senate. Robert Costa reports:
... House conservatives are bashing [the deal] behind the scenes, and they're pushing leadership to reject the compromise. A flurry of phone calls and meetings last night and early this morning led to that consensus among the approximately 50 Republicans who form the House GOP's right flank. They're furious with Senate Republicans for working with Democrats to craft what one leading tea-party congressman calls a "mushy piece of s**t." Another House conservative warns, "If Boehner backs this, as is, he's in trouble."

But that's unlikely to happen. As of 8:30 a.m., House conservatives believe the leadership is well aware of their unhappiness, and they expect Boehner to talk up the House's next move: another volley to the Senate, which would extend the debt ceiling, reopen the government, and set up a budget conference, plus request conservative demands that go beyond the Senate's outline....
I supposed it's possible that Reid and McConnell will be flexible enough to accept a few Crazy Caucus conditions, and then it will be the usual fight to get GOP crazies to take yes for an answer. Or maybe the crazies are killing the deal in its crib and default is inevitable. There's no stock market plummet as I type this update (10:02 A.M. on Tuesday), but a plummet is inevitable sooner or later. And Boehner has to tell these people to piss off, or the first line of his obituary will be that he was the guy who allowed the economy to crash just to save his phony-baloney job.


Victor said...

How about "The No More Playing Chicken With Our Economy Act?"

Or, "The No More Playing Russian-Roulette With Our Economy Act?"

Or, how about "The No More Taking Our Economy Hostage Act?"

Oh, if only the Republicans were any good at "Crisis Management," we might not be where we are today!
Instead, they're GREAT at "Crisis Creation!"
Not so much...

Glennis said...

I'll grudgingly agree with you about McConnell, but:

"If so, he's actually putting his career at some risk on behalf of his country."

Really? He's over 70 and he's got a sweet federal pension at his fingertips. He's not risking anything.

Carol Ann said...

How about the Cruz-Cantor Act?

Chris Andersen said...

I'm reminded of the final moves before the passage of TARP. The House rejected it at first, then the market went into free-fall (again), and then the House quickly passed it.

We may actually slip into Thursday before this is finally over.

Steve M. said...

I agree with you, Aunt Snow. I feel the same way about Boehner, who's in his 60s and will never miss a meal even if he loses his speakership and his seat. But we've been so conditioned to the thought that it's legitimate for these guys to cling to power, even if the country burns, that I feel I have to address the issue as if their desire to keep what they have at our expense isn't pathological.

aimai said...

Holy shit I'm depressed. Boehner is just one of the emotionally weakest and most cowardly of people I've ever encountered--if he were a fictional character you wouldn't believe him or he'd have to come with a boatload of psychological explanation. Its almost impossible to imagine such a drink soaked wretch.

I think there are ways to pull this out but I'm not hopeful.

Ten Bears said...

The creatures are committing treason. A hanging offense.

No fear.

Lawrence said...

I've spent about an hour trying to figure out how to push my meager 401K holdings into a money market account as a possible hedge against the impending shitstorm. Fidelity's website is not forthcoming with how to do this, so I'll have to call. Maybe it isn't an option on my plan. Anyway, another missed Democratic message point is what will happen to those funds that all those employed 'moderate' republicans earned and saved. And why again are we doing this?

Mallard Filmore said...

It looks like the faction that is most willing to crash the country will end up being the one that gets to write our laws. How delightfully perverse.

We will not come out of this as a Super Power.

Postscript said...

The "Exceptional America" act has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Examinator said...

I tend to agree with Peter Singer here:
[BTW] Project Syndicate is well worth a browse]

It seems to me that everyone on the tourist canoe is looking for the alligators and no one is planning how to get out of the Damn swamp.
In my terms we're all looking at the effect not the cause.
in effect the Dems are so busy with crisis management style of governance they are ALLOWING the NON representative Rat bag pack (loony minority) to drive the agenda.
Boehner can't break the their political spines. He's got his own problems So create a diversion i.e. an "American Federal Citizens Protection Bnll".
In it throw in a heap of red herrings that will distract their collective 'squirrel!' attention (s?)
some firm definitions that will make the TBers wet their diapers with joy but put in a simple clear point about the Fed being able to determine citizenship and in another seemingly unrelated bill the "Citizens Fairness Bill" that ALL CITIZENS are entitled to vote in Federal Elections (exclusions are defined *only* by the Fed in federal elections.

At a later stage by whatever means create a department (inside National security) but make it independent subject only to MAJORITIES IN both houses staffed by Public servants... to run FEDERAL ELECTIONS AND THEREFORE by extension the ability to adjust FEDERAL ELECTORAL divisions (to based roughly on equal numbers of constituents and political neutrality). Sell it by pointing out how the poorer states will save money for their state citizens by not having to maintain or (run) ONLY FEDERAL ELECTIONS (carrot)… no link to state elections. I'd fill them full of weasel clauses that while appearing about nuanced differences but also allow interpretation to allow variations on the above. I'd also put in clauses that starts fights between red states. One option would be to offer the independent electoral department to run state elections on state rolls. In the administration codes put full accountability i.e. public access to the differences in the rolls.
Win lose or draw this would have the other side so busy and they would no longer setting the agenda...giving the Dems clear air to build a public support.
Also hit them with a raft of other (disposable) "trade goods" bills ones that say careful left wing (to trade away).
Her I'm using variations on a number of well known marketing/ negotiation techniques some used by the GOP. They are Distraction, paper (legislative) blizzard, division and trade goods. I've successfully used this group of technique a number of times in business which I, have called 'alligators on the loose'.
I also accept the exact methodology is probably not possible in this form but thinking laterally variations are possible.