It's the Arrogance, Stupid!
It is sad and unfortunate that the Liberal Establishment is so disdainful of the “Tea Party” Republicans, that they don’t bother listening to what they are saying. And what are they saying? The #1 threat to America is not the current (perhaps phony) debt ceiling increase, but the fundamental threat to America’s financial future due to a Government that is spending far, far above its means.
This is not about political gamesmanship, but about ‘turning the country around’. If you think America is heading over a waterfall due to a government that taxes, borrows and spends too much, you will wanting no part in ANY action that takes us closer to the edge. Passing a debt ceiling without starting to fix the fiscal issues of overspending is such an action.
Had the President and his acolytes stopped lecturing and started listening for a change, they would detect that, no, there is no interest at all by conservatives and Republicans in harming the economy, either short-term or long-term. The conservative/Republican real interest is in helping the economy long-term by reducing the size, scope, cost, influence and burden of government, so it returns to a sustainable and rational level relative to our economy.
Given this, the question is ill-posed. The RIGHT question is: Will a debt ceiling ‘deal’ get us further along that path towards a sustainable and less burdensome government than a ‘no deal’ scenario or not?
If it DOES, then the “Tea Party” will bite. What deal would that be? The Tea party agenda would be – Obama-care repeal, the BBA, large spending cuts, and spending caps; these are what would elicit a ‘yes’. ANY tax hikes would be a “NO”. Since Obamacare repeal would be off-the-table from the Democrat side, and ‘entitlement reform’ the conservative way and liberal way are so far apart the twain cannot meet, and since BBA is likely a bridge too far for Democrats … we are left with Spending Cuts.
So we know EXACTLY what will elicit a deal that can stick: A bill with sufficient spending cuts that tells the Tea Party that they will be further along the long-term path to sustainably smaller government than a ‘shutdown crisis’. Is it enough? If its just a few trillion off of $45 trillion in 10 year spending plans, that 5% cut from Obama’s plans will not be enough for many. Ryan budget for FY 2012 however would be.
Either the Obama administration and DC Democrats know this fully and are engaged in partisan gamesmanship by trying to bait the Republicans into a no-deal crisis, or they are clueless and have not listened. It’s very dangerous to get drunk on your own rhetoric, and most of the anti-Tea Party rhetoric from the liberal side is bilgewater unfit for intelligent consumption. the bottom-line:
A REAL and SERIOUS effort towards lowering spending and toward fiscal responsibility would get conservatives in the House to a deal. Smoke and mirrors and gimmicks and brow-beating and ‘my tax hikes or the highway’ will … not.
“But it seems to me that if I’m right and at a macro-level it is politically in the interest of the Republican party to let the government default on its debts” This is dubious on many levels. An axiom – the Republicans ALWAYS get the blame. There is genuine desire by politicians on both sides NOT to muck things up, and McConnell plan can be viewed in that light. However, that desire is curiously lacking in Obama’s behavior. The ‘crisis’ is something Obama seems to be wanting, as his behavior has been to make a deal harder to reach, and he is trying to score far too many partisan points against the very people he is supposed to be talking to. The ‘default’ option is an option of the President, he could sign an order to make sure the interest on debt is paid first, taking that whole concern off the table. Yet, he doesnt do that; rather, he raises the stakes with the fearmongering-type statements of calamity. These are pressure-tactics, not consensus-building tactics.
By Aug 2nd, there will be either a spending-cut-only ‘deal’ bill, e.g compromise between Biden $2T cuts and cut, cap and balance, or there will be no deal at all. (McConnell’s plan B is an abortion, a bill that cuts the legs from under the House wont get through the House, and it adbidcates too much to the President.) The ‘no deal’ will be a political failure for both sides and for which both sides will deserve and get blame. It will not be a boon for Republicans, nor for Obama, nor for the country. Call it a ‘lose/lose/lose’ option.
The media may try, and even succeed, in blaming Republicans for the breakdown. In reality, the breakdown will have been caused by the liberals mis-reading and failing to listen to what the Tea Party Republicans were saying.