I was going to update my post from yesterday on Mitch McConnell’s “Own it, Obama” debt ceiling proposal, but I thought this deserves a post of its own. Quite a few conservatives expressed great displeasure with McConnell, and I get it. Nobody wants to see the US government rack up more debt. But we also have to live in reality. The Republicans aren’t exactly dealing with an honest broker here. They’re dealing with a cynical, underhanded partisan who is
willing eager to throw the entire country under the bus in order to get his way.
The Wall Street Journal explained the situation perfectly.
The reality is that Mr. Obama is trying to present Republicans with a Hobson’s choice: Either repudiate their campaign pledge by raising taxes, or take the blame for any economic turmoil and government shutdown as the U.S. nears a debt default. In the former case Mr. Obama takes the tax issue off the table and demoralizes the tea party for 2012, and in the latter he makes Republicans share the blame for 9.2% unemployment.
This is the political context in which to understand Mr. McConnell’s proposal yesterday to force Mr. Obama to take ownership of any debt-limit increase. If the President still insists on a tax increase, then Republicans will walk away from the talks.
The hotter precincts of the blogosphere were calling this a sellout yesterday, though they might want to think before they shout. The debt ceiling is going to be increased one way or another, and the only question has been what if anything Republicans could get in return. If Mr. Obama insists on a tax increase, and Republicans won’t vote for one, then what’s the alternative to Mr. McConnell’s maneuver?
Republicans who say they can use the debt limit to force Democrats to agree to a balanced budget amendment are dreaming. Such an amendment won’t get the two-thirds vote to pass the Senate, but it would give every Democrat running for re-election next year a chance to vote for it and claim to be a fiscal conservative.
We agree with those who say that Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner can cut other federal spending before he allows a technical default on U.S. debt. No doubt that is what he will do. We’d even support a showdown over technical default if we thought it might yield some major government reforms. But Mr. Obama clearly has no such intention.
Instead he and Mr. Geithner will gradually shut down government services, the more painful the better.
Read the whole thing. Expectations over what one house of the government can do while we have a radical-in-chief and a lunatic running the Senate need to be brought in line with reality. Dealing with the devil would be an easier task.
If they allow Obama and Geithner to start withholding checks from people’s grandparents, and to stop paying our veterans, and whatever other sinister schemes they have up their sleeves, they’ll be toast. He’s got the bully pulpit. The media will take his side. They won’t report that it didn’t have to be this way. They’ll have manufactured yet another crisis, and we all know they won’t let it go to waste.