Many conservative pundits are saying: don’t pay attention to what Boehner says, watch what he does. Ok, because what he says is idiotic. And speaking of blindingly stupid, many in the GOP are apparently blithering idiots:
A surprisingly broad section of the Republican Party is convinced that a threat once taken as economic fact may not exist — or at least may not be so serious. Some question the Treasury’s drop-dead deadline of Oct. 17. Some government services might have to be curtailed, they concede. “But I think the real date, candidly, the date that’s highly problematic for our nation, is Nov. 1,” said Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee.Others say there is no deadline at all — that daily tax receipts would be more than enough to pay off Treasury bonds as they come due.
Obama should have been arguing against the law of gravity. Everyone knows the House can repeal it with little consequence. That’s what they do with laws. And while we’re at it don’t worry about landing on the sun. We’ll do it at night when it’s cooler.
With stocks tanking and the world watching, President Obama tore into House Republicans Tuesday, warning they were risking economic catastrophe by refusing to hike the nation’s debt limit without strings attached.But in a sign of just how far apart the sides are, several leading Republicans downplayed the potential fallout of an unprecedented national default that’s edging ever closer.
“Ransom.” “Extortion.” “Deadbeat.” “Hostage-taking.” “Blow the whole thing up.” “Insane.”Those are just a few of the words and phrases that President Obama used to describe (and deride) what he believes is the Republicans’ strategic approach on the government shutdown and debt ceiling during a news conference Tuesday. (Full transcript here.)
David Frum has a great piece on the dysfunctional GOP entitled
Seven Habits of Highly Ineffective Political Parties
The most telling thing about Boehner’s remarks is their brevity. The Speaker spoke for about five minutes, responded briefly to one question, and bolted out the door. Obama’s disquisition earlier today may have been long (over an hour) and professorial. But he was able to defend his position against questions, engage counterarguments, and marshal facts to support his position. Boehner couldn’t do any of those things. So he did the only thing a man in his position could do: repeat a handful of false or crazy talking points and quickly flee the premises.
Now it’s possible this situation could be the exception that proves the rule, so wanton have Republicans been about taking the federal government and the economy hostage. But Enten’s right: when the economy does poorly, the party controlling the White House tends to take the biggest hit, even if that phenomenon is both beyond its control and largely attributable to the opposing party.It’s another reminder of the perils of our system of government at a time of asymmetric polarization: Republicans can act deliberately and unilaterally to screw up government in the reasonable belief a Democratic incumbent president and his party will ultimately lose support even if they do not objectively bear the blame.
Ex-GOP insider unloads: Blame “neo-Confederate insurrectionists” for shutdown!“I would take Boehner drunk over Cruz sober,” former 28-year GOP staffer-turned-author Mike Lofgren tells Salon
Pickett’s Charge.Marc Ambinder:
I have few qualms with Ezra Klein’s 13 reasons why government is failing piece, but I think his main point needs to be modified. Government is failing, he writes. I would add that it is purposely failing. It is operating precisely as a plurality of political conservatives want it to. The government is executing policies designed to reduce confidence in itself. The shutdown is not a consequence of a broken system. It is a consequence of a system that incentivizes particular outcomes over majority ones, rules that empower political minorities, and of the political and social needs of the humans who inhabit it.
Jamelle Bouie writes about remodeling the debt ceiling:
It’s a good idea. As former Treasury Secretary Hank Paulson told CNBC, the whole idea of a “debt limit” is redundant. “Congress has already approved the spending,” he explained, “And then say ‘you have to then come back and agree to allow us to meet our obligations,’ that’s ridiculous.” When Congress authorizes spending, it gives an implicit OK to the president—“If you need to borrow to fulfill your obligations to the laws we passed, then do so.” McConnell’s idea [see link] would make that explicit.Indeed, it’s such a good idea that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has brought it back, to pressure John Boehner and House Republicans into ending the stand-off. As Brian Beutler writes for Salon, “Moving quickly, while Boehner and his lieutenants dither, is a can’t-lose move for Reid. If the plan fails—that is, if Republicans successfully filibuster the bill with a week before the Treasury Department’s deadline—markets will turn, and the pressure on the GOP to cave will increase. If it passes, Boehner will be isolated.”
But there remains a major obstacle to GOP concessions: The growing number of Republicans who believe that we can survive a debt limit breach with little trouble.