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Rep. Paul Ryan is giving Republicans advice on how to beat President Obama. Enough said.
Whether this is a move designed to let Republicans raise the debt limit without losing face, a move to give them leverage by keeping the debt limit hostage alive, or some combination thereof, it's a pretty dumb idea:
House Republicans signaled on Thursday they might support a short-term extension of U.S. borrowing authority next month so they can move on to budget battles that could offer them more political leverage.

The move, described as under consideration by House of Representatives Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, appears to be aimed at getting President Barack Obama and his Democrats to start negotiating with them on spending cuts without Republicans being blamed for a debt default and any resulting chaos in financial markets.

"We're discussing the possible virtue of a short-term debt limit extension, so that we have a better chance of getting the Senate and White House involved in discussions in March," said Ryan.

At least to me, this really doesn't make any sense. Yes, it would give Republicans a way to raise the debt limit without officially conceding that they were caving ... but it won't give them any leverage they don't already have, which means that in a couple months they'd be right back in the same position they are in today.

Presumably, their theory is that giving the debt limit hostage a temporary stay of execution will strengthen their hand while negotiating with President Obama over the sequester and FY2013 appropriations bills, allowing them to use the debt limit as an unspoken threat. That might not be a bad idea—if nobody knew what they were doing and if it weren't obvious they will raise the debt limit. But it would be obvious what they were doing and it already is obvious that they are bluffing. (On the bluffing front, Sen. John Cornyn of Texas became the latest Republican to back off his debt limit bluster by saying that Republicans would raise the debt limit.)

For better or worse, President Obama has already made it clear that he's willing to make more spending cuts, but he has said he'll only agree to make further cuts if Republicans are willing to raise additional revenues. If Republicans want those spending cuts, they need to either agree to raise revenue or hope that the president caves on his demand for it. Either way, extending the debt limit for a couple of months won't help them achieve their goals. In fact, by once again focusing attention on their hostage-taking strategy, it probably makes it less likely. So in that sense, I'm all in favor of their dumb idea.

And, as I said above, the fact that their gambit won't enhance their leverage means that once the short-term extension expires, Republicans will find themselves right back where they find themselves today. Presumably, they'd end up doing the same thing all over again on the theory that the FY2014 spending bills were just around the corner. So a short-term extension would probably end up creating a dynamic where every few months, Republicans stage a repeat of this debt limit spectacle.

Politically, I'm actually rooting for them to do it. The only thing less popular than raising the debt limit is raising it in the way Republicans want to raise it: with cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. And if that's what they want to be known for in the run-up to the 2014 midterms, I've got two words for them: "Please proceed."

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:24 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Seems like the plan is to concede (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, midwesterner, Aunt Pat

    on most points, but only agree to them over short periods, and probably keep this trend up to 2014.

    I see what you did there.

    by GoGoGoEverton on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:31:22 AM PST

    •  What Ryan needs... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Aunt Pat

      ...is a good dose of this, which was meted out in a state of Washington trailer park.

      Wasn't there a story like this in the Bible?

      http://main.aol.com/...

      I know, just when you thought things couldn't get any stupider.

      I'm not sixty-two—I'm fifty-twelve!

      by Pragmatus on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:54:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  It's a tactical retreat for now. (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shippo1776, ratcityreprobate, dewtx

      They're going to use the sequestration as the battle ground.

      Oh, and if they actually shut down the govt people would suddenly realize how much they LIKE having the Post Office, SS/MC, VA, Vet benefits, Center For Disease Control, etc. etc.  GOP doesn't want people remembering that.

    •  Seems to me like... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      midwesterner, diffrntdrummr

      "It's my ball and I get to make the rules!" Republican Party of immature brats negotiation tactics.

      Hey Paul, you're a big boy now, play nice.

      Physics is bulls**t. Don't let them fool you. Fire IS magic.

      by Pescadero Bill on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:09:27 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  But they don't have the ball... (0+ / 0-)

        we won the election. They only "control" (if you can call it that) 1/3 of the decision making process.

        "I'm totally pro-choice in the matter of abortion. But of course I'm also so radically pro-life that I think every person from birth onward must have full and affordable access to healthcare." - Gail Collins

        by gritsngumbo on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:17:01 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  but lest we forget, (2+ / 0-)
          "we hold the power of the purse" -- Marsha Blackburn

          so their 1/3 is a pretty fair chunk of power, and they're pretty well drunk with it

          for now at least, it appears that the lunatics really  are in charge of the asylum

          "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

          by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:24:35 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  gng - the House controls the $$ (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          coffeetalk

          and that's a lot of leverage.

          "let's talk about that"

          by VClib on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:04:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As long as the Sequester is hanging out there (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            midwesterner, dewtx

            with big cuts in defense their leverage is constrained.  "My way or the Sequester" gives Obama a leg up in any negotiations.

            Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

            by ratcityreprobate on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:07:48 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  not so sure... (0+ / 0-)

            The Republicans in the House think they're sitting pretty, but if they try any shenanigans, all we need to do is remind them, as long and as loud as necessary, that the 14th Amendment specifically states that the U.S. will not, under any circumstances, default on its obligations, and even the most senseless among them will realize, maybe, that if they vote against a raise to the debt ceiling, they will be violating the Amendment.  (And since they once again made a big show of reading the Constitution at the beginning of their session, they cannot deny that the Amendment is a valid, binding clause.)  

    •  the short term debt ceiling increase (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx

      is another way of saying the Republicans will kick the can down the road. I thought someone said they were at the end of the road?

      •  Repeatedly making threats about the debt (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dewtx

        ceiling is certainly not going to make them many friends in the banking and investment sector - the sector of the economy they've been wailing about having no "confidence"  and no way to engage in long-term planning.  

         Apparently they're ready to kill off the confidence fairy.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:02:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Obama should call the repugs out (0+ / 0-)

      With this hostage taking, our economic recovery is severely dampened and our deficit increases.  Republicans are responsible here for impeding our economic recovery and increasing our deficit!  Just say Obama!  He media needs to make thus clear as well.  Democrats need to sing his from he hills!

      "Art is a lie that makes you realize the truth." - Picasso

      by she the technocrat on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:07:30 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  In other words... (0+ / 0-)

      they're betting that Obama may be less popular 3 months from now than he is today. Plus, the bad taste of the "fiscal cliff" may have dissipated from the public's palate.

  •  People are tired of endless crises... (16+ / 0-)

    Obama Admin and Dems could simply say this is unacceptable and the GOP need to stop forcing endless crises and kicking the can down the road in a desperate attempt to find better leverage.  

    "The world is made for people who aren't cursed with self awareness" -Annie Savoy (Bull Durham)

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:33:34 AM PST

    •  The only thing they (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx

      will understand is a 2000 point drop in the Dow that every single economist blames on not having a raising of the debt.

    •  Re: endless crises (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dewtx

      Isnt it the Republican Party who keeps insisting that employment would improve if businesses could have some sense of certainty in the market and as regards taxes? Ironic that it is the very same Party that foments uncertainty isn't it? By creating a fiscal crisis every other month it's almost like they are intentionally keeping markets in a perpetual cycle of uncertainty but they wouldn't do that would they?

    •  YOU ALL UNDERESTIMATE THE GOP STRATEGY! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      greenbell

      Their thinking is that: "We propose a 3 month debt increase. The Senate refuses to go along. Then we blame Obama. Eventually Democrats will have to accept a debt ceiling increase that is shorter than they want."

      Their idea is that the people won't unanimously blame them for refusing to raise the Debt ceiling again in April, IF in the mean-time people start to realize that Obama wants to negotiate cuts in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security to enact his "grand bargain."

      Then everyone will be furious and disgusted with BOTH parties and Republicans won't get all the blame, like they would now.

      The ONLY way Obama and the Democrats can possibly win is NOT TO NEGOTIATE spending cuts either! He has to FORCE Republicans to publicly vote for cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, then he has to denounce these cuts and demand the GOP back off their plans to gut the social safety net.

      Chances of this happening are ZERO. Like the article said: "for better or worse, President Obama has already made it clear that he's willing to make more spending cuts"

      There's ZERO effort among Democrats to attack the real problem -- which is Austerity Doesn't Work! We're seeing endless proof of this in Europe, but nobody in Washington is listening to reason!

      The ONLY reason we are in this mess is that Obama has been capitulating like Marshall Petain for 4 years now -- nominating the Catfood Commission, and putting deep cuts to the safety net on the table in his insane negotiating for a "grand bargain."

      Now the public is brainwashed into thinking that the "debt crisis" is real, when it's all a hoax.

      It's not too late to destroy the Republican party by forcing them to own their demands for deep cuts to SS, Medicare & Medicaid, and then refuse to give them any political cover by denouncing these cuts.

      But, Obama would have to give up his insane strategy of cutting the social safety net in order to "balance the budget."

      We KNOW that even if they balance the budget the next GOP President will only blow the deficit open once again on tax cuts for the top 1%.

    •  Democrats should drop references to (0+ / 0-)

      "kicking the can down the road."  That sounds like a bad thing to do, but some of the decisions to be made are long-term (such as Social Security), some have partial solutions already being implemented and we don't know yet what positive effects those proposals might offer (health care, including Medicare and Medicaid), some are just frivolous or mean-spirited (cutting spending on school lunches and food stamps), and some will turn out not to be problems at all if the deficit hawks will spend more energy on figuring out how to put people back to work rather than gnashing their teeth and demonizing the unemployed.  

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:15:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ah, he can't starve Grandma today? (8+ / 0-)

    You will never see a smile from him. Never.

    And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

    by Pale Jenova on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:34:27 AM PST

    •  Grins don't count? (0+ / 0-)

      He lets a self-satisfied grin emerge when he thinks he's made some relevant point.  Turns out he's always wrong, and when he's called out on it or asked to explain it, he smirks.  I suppose smirks don't count either.

      "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

      by SueDe on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:21:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Just about when Joe Biden guffaws (0+ / 0-)

        and pounds the table. Paul Ryan's "lie-o-meter" just maxed out again. (That happened over and over in the VP debate. I loved it.:)

        And God said, "Let there be light"; and with a Big Bang, there was light. And God said "Ow! Ow My eyes!" and in a flash God separated light from darkness. "Whew! Now that's better. Now where was I. Oh yea . . ."

        by Pale Jenova on Sun Jan 20, 2013 at 10:08:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  This all fits... (7+ / 0-)

    the constant "government is dysfunctional" meme the Republicans have pushed now for decades. Republicans obstruct, obfuscate and act obtusely with the unspoken intent on fomenting disgust with the public for anything even remotely related to "government".

    With the assistance of the lazy so called mainstream media with the clarion call of false equivalency,  the Republicans have been able to pull this off.

    I say draw the line in the sand NOW. The more time we screw around with these idiots, the more of their lies and deceptions creep into the public consciousness assisted by all forms of media, including the alleged mainstream.

  •  but isn't "kicking the can down the road" (8+ / 0-)

    the GOP's favored talking point?

    scoff-scoff

    "Show up. Pay attention. Tell the truth. And don't be attached to the results." -- Angeles Arrien

    by Sybil Liberty on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:39:23 AM PST

  •  Appearing to be tough deciders (3+ / 0-)

    Bought them some political power, but the whole nation had not been somewhat decimated then as it is now....just the military, who is easily shamed into silence before they announce that they are broke ass broken.

    Republicans are losing their good faith and credit every second they hold crashing our economy in the palm of their hands and giggle giddy with the power they possess.

    Sounds like George W Bush right after his re-election, when the day after he declared that he was given a mandate and he also ordered Fallujah to be bombed into the Stone Age.  And then the whole of Iraq grew so pissed off that it almost burned Dubya's ass to the ground.

    Do they really think this sort of thing will earn them votes instead of distrust and contempt?  What a crazy bunch of assholes.

  •  The Republicans obviously view the (5+ / 0-)

    Debt Ceiling as their ultimate bargaining chip.

    Keeping the threat to default on the US debt as a pawn for their ransom demands makes tons of sense if you are as craven and irresponsible as they are.

    So, as they go through the other budget battles they can always say to the President and Democrats, "We will just bring this up when the debt limit comes up again - why not do it now?"

    It is strategically smart and very sinister.

    •  Well, not really (0+ / 0-)

      Unless you think "the ultimate bargaining chip" is the equivalent of threatening to shoot yourself in the head, and you're making that threat to someone who couldn't care less whether you live or die (or maybe would be kinda happy if you did pull that trigger).

      The reason Republicans are considering caving on the debt ceiling is that they realize their hostage strategy is a net political loser for them.  Their crazy base will be angry about any extension, but they can try to sell a short term extension to these folks as being better than a longer term extension.

      •  But you're totally missing the point (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        SEAlifeguard, she the technocrat

        of strategically changing the order of events and how that plays into their ability to make their ransom demands.

        Keeping the Debt Ceiling at the back of the line - moving it past the other deadlines - means that they get to keep the threat to default in play through the other negotiations.

        And while we don't care if they shoot themselves given how craven they are, we do care that shooting themselves in this case will hurt our economy and real people trying to get by in it.

        Basically, the way to understand these people is to think of them as desperate criminals.

        •  Keeping an empty threat in your back pocket (0+ / 0-)

          for later doesn't change the fact that it's an empty threat.

          •  I'm taking the position that it isn't (0+ / 0-)

            an empty threat on their part.  The mere fact that the issue remains and will remain "in play" is actually having a negative effect on our economy and consumer confidence.  So, it isn't an "empty threat" at all really.

            •  Yes, I know you are (0+ / 0-)

              I just think you're misreading the reality of the situation.

              Look, if the Republicans really thought their threat was worth anything, they wouldn't be preparing to unilaterally surrender...as they now are.

              •  You're taking them at their word. (0+ / 0-)

                This is a mistake.

                In any case, the delay in resolving the issue once and for all should be counted against them as being a continued use of the threat to do damage - and there are metrics to prove that their games are having a negative effect on the situation.

      •  I like Krugman's analogy: (0+ / 0-)

        Threatening not to raise the debt ceiling is like walking into a crowded room with a bomb strapped around your waist and threatening to blow the whole place up, including yourself, if you don't get your way.

        "In this world of sin and sorrow there is always something to be thankful for; as for me, I rejoice that I am not a Republican." - H. L. Mencken

        by SueDe on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 10:30:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Defy the will of congress (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus, Aunt Pat, midwesterner

    What amazes me about the arguments made by congress is The President has the ability to prioritize payments.  This seems to be to a violation of the separations of powers, and the ability of congress to do the will of the people.  For instance, can the president simply stop funding all the activities of ICE.  Certainly a great deal of money can be saved by just having the employees sit at their desk and catch up on paper work rather than in an operational mode.  Can the president do the same for the DEA?   Can employees in both agencies be furloughed.

    I know when conservatives think about this they believe they are creating leverage by threatening to pull the funding that feed and house our seniors and children, but in we often see that grandstanding has unforeseen consequences.  Like the allowing the minting of a platinum coin of any denomination.

    •  Better question would be (0+ / 0-)

      Can the President decide that Congress doesn't get paid until they make the deal?

    •  It's another stupid argument, politically (0+ / 0-)

      It sets them up for the comeback: oh, so you think Chinese investors should get paid before our military troops serving in harm's way, eh? Or before American seniors get their Social Security or Medicare?

      Hmm. That sounds downright unpatriotic to me.

    •  lowt - it's an interesting issue (0+ / 0-)

      There was some legislation passed after Nixon refused to fund a congressional appropriation so the POTUS has less flexibility than you might think. However, there is always wide discretion in the executive branch.

      "let's talk about that"

      by VClib on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:08:28 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  What they want to do is (6+ / 0-)

    extend the debt ceiling limit past the other two looming deadlines:  the sequestration cuts going into effect, and the expiration of the continuing resolution on March 27.  While the President has said he won't negotiate over the debt limit - "pay the bills after we've already spent the money" -- the President can't say he won't negotiate over what spending is going to happen NEXT year.  

    Moreover, this would mean that the negotiations are going to take place AFTER the President submits his budget to Congress.  By law, the President is supposed to do that by February 4, to start the process to pass a budget resolution for the next fiscal year. After he does that, and after the CBO reports on that budget, THEN Congress is supposed to consider a budget resolution for next year. (The President has already said he will not meet the February 4 deadline.)

    Speaker Boehner has already said he will not negotiate with the President again behind closed doors, but will proceed by "regular order."  That "regular order" on the budget forces the President to begin the process -- in effect, make an "opening bid" on next year's budget -- and forces the Senate to vote on a budget resolution, which they have not done since 2009.  (The House previously has passed the Ryan budget as a budget resolution.)  

    Frankly, this is exactly what I expected the Republicans to do -- push the debt limit discussion, where they would be blamed for causing the economic crash -- back until after these other deadlines, so that they can put the pressure on the President and the Senate to comply with the law. Speaker Boehner will wait for the President's budget, take a vote on that (it won't pass -- last year, the President's budget got no votes at all in the House) and then pass a very right-wing budget (another version of the Ryan budget?) out of the House, and wait for the Senate to act on that. Then when the Senate passes its own Budget Resolution, they go to conference.  They are supposed to be done by April 15.  I strongly suspect that the Republican party leaders want to raise the debt ceiling until after April 15 so that it's taken off the table until AFTER they have finished with the Budget Resolution process.

    The question, I think, is whether the leaders of the party, who certainly see the political advantage to taking the debt ceiling temporarily off the table and focusing on the Budget Resolution Process, can persuade the political ideologues on the very right wing to swallow the notion of raising the debt ceiling.  

  •  Dumb and dumberer. Drag out threats to tank the (4+ / 0-)

    economy and destroy social security and medicare closer to the midterm elections. It seems impossible, but this gang might succeed in losing seats in 2014 in the House.

    "They will not collect a ransom in exchange for not crashing the American economy. The full faith and credit of the United States of America is not a bargaining chip."

    by TofG on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:42:23 AM PST

  •  As stupid as it is, they know they can't stop (7+ / 0-)

    creating these crises, because that's the only way they get what they want. If they don't create potential disasters like the fiscal cliff and the debt ceiling hostage crisis, the GOP will get absolutely none of its legislative priorities passed.

    "In an individual, selfishness uglifies the soul; for the human species, selfishness is extinction." -Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell

    by rigcath on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:49:28 AM PST

  •  Not sure the president would go there, but (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    glorificus

    it seems to me that it would be just about as easy to annul the debt ceiling statute as the raise the limit, so if I were he, I'd forget about using my clout just to get it raised again.

    •  What makes you think any president (0+ / 0-)

      has the power to "annul" the debt ceiling?

      The president has nothing to do with raising the debt ceiling other than signing the bill into law. Congress has the responsibility to raise the debt ceiling to pay for the spending it has already authorized.

      •  Um... (0+ / 0-)

        I meant that I think the president should “use his clout” not merely to persuade Congress to raise the debt ceiling, but to get them to annul the whole thing. The president can't unilaterally raise the debt ceiling either, but he has a certain amount of political clout that he can direct toward issues he cares about.

  •  We keep being incredibly lucky. Unforced errors (4+ / 0-)

    ... by the GOP abound. As in ...

    "Debt Ceiling du jour.  Hey, Gang, let's have a periodic debt-and-deficit crisis with the ceiling, so we can remind the public often, like monthly!, how dogged we are about cutting back on Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid."

    2014 IS COMING. Build up the Senate. Win back the House : 17 seats. Plus!

    by TRPChicago on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:52:18 AM PST

  •  heh (4+ / 0-)

    Just keep kicking the can or pulling the football or whatever, until they get better PR.


    "There is but one evil party with two names, and it will be elected despite all I can do or say." W.E.B. Dubois, 1956
    TheStarsHollowGazette.com

    by TheMomCat on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 07:55:29 AM PST

  •  Sound analysis (0+ / 0-)

    So it seems at first blush. You make a good case for why the GOP has run this up the flagpole, and why the Democrats are not likely to be impressed.

  •  The House can't do this alone, right? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    Both the Senate and the President would have to sign off on it, right?

    I would be very surprised if the President let this happen. I think he would be clear he's not accepting a short-term bandaid.

    And he would mean it.

     Letting the Rs shut down the government has not hurt the Dems in the past, irrc.

    **Your beliefs don't make you a better person, your behavior does** h/t Clytemnestra/Victoria Jackson

    by glorificus on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:00:58 AM PST

  •  On a COMPLETELY different issue.. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    Wasn't sure where to put this, and I'm no expert on Spanish, but...

    There seems to be a bunch of spanish-language diaries popping up from several different users that are identical (i.e. they're spam robot diaries!)

  •  I Say If the Republicans Don't Want to Pay (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Aunt Pat

    their debts, then Democrats should declare them bankrupt.  Spread the meme.

    Man up Republicans; it's time to pay for your longest-in-American-history-wars of adventurism and "nation building."

    Readers & Book Lovers Pull up a chair! You're never too old to be a Meta Groupie

    by Limelite on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:02:40 AM PST

  •  Correct me if my memory ... (0+ / 0-)

    ... is failing meme, but didn't the president say some time back that he wasn't interested in any more temporary deals on the debt limit?

    Ryan and his posse remind me of a herd of 10-year-olds determined to test the patience of the adults by probing the boundaries of the rules.

  •  Rule # 1 never, ever, ever, ever, EVER (0+ / 0-)

    trust the GOP, let alone Lyin Ryan, EVER!!!!!!!!!!

  •  of course they'll do it temporarily (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    in exchange for Obama offering to remove the defense cuts from the sequester. And that's probably what the next deal will end up being.

    The Republicans don't give up anything without getting something more important in return. In exchange for temporarily agreeing not to destroy the full faith and credit of the US, they will obtain a weapon of great value: the sequester minus the defense cuts. Unlike the debt celing, they can use that weapon without blowing themselves up.

    And they will use it to force the Dems to their knees to prevent across-the-board domestic spending cuts. By giving them this weapon, Obama hopes to soften Democratic resistance to the Grand Bargain on cuts to SS/Medicare.

    You'll notice he mentioned "deficit reduction" practically every other sentence of that speech, and whenever he sits down with Congress to chat about "deficit reduction," he puts SS and Medicare on the table. Every time they fail to reach a deal to cut SS/Medicare, he says this is a good start on "deficit reduction" but that Congress needs to do more. You can put two and two together for yourself to see what this means.

    Of course, in the future, after the Grand Bargain, if they feel like it, the GOP will once again threaten to use the debt ceiling.

    You can bet that at that point, Obama will run around saying that we have no choice but to cave to Republican demands. The Obama you saw in that last speech will have vanished. Instead, he will be urging us to go along with their demands for super-austerity in order to avoid economic collapse. Ryan plan? Check. Eliminating the Department of Education? Check. Gutting unemployment benefits? Check. Sky's the limit.

    These negotiations are headed towards a very dangerous place--and always were, once the president failed to stand up to them initially. Once it was accepted that terrorist threats were a legitimate means of gaining political advantage, it damaged our governing institutions profoundly and led us further down the same kind of path the Weimar Republic followed.

    "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

    by limpidglass on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:26:19 AM PST

  •  Whatever happened (0+ / 0-)

    Whatever happened to the line item veto as something that would give the president the ability to cut wasteful spending?  Or is that another thing that Republicans like when the president is a Republican, but now that he's a Democrat it's EEEEEVILLLLLLLLLLLLE!

  •  It's probably better than the alternative (0+ / 0-)

    for the GOP.  Right now, they have two choices, total cave and temporary extension (probably 6 months).  Which would you choose?  I don't buy that bringing this up again is bad for the GOP.  I think there are several advantages to their strategy:

    1.  Live to fight another day when the battle ground may be better.  Bill Clinton proved that hunkering down and waiting to fight on fairer terrain is a good strategy.  The GOP is in a very bad place, right now, but political terrain is always shifting.  This president also always seems to have a popularity swoon in the summer.  Why not fight him then, when the terrain couldn't possibly be any worse?

    2.  Deferring lets the GOP have the big fight, where they have much better leverage, now.  They can also throw a long term debt ceiling deal into this deal to sweeten it, without the perception of holding it hostage.  My guess is that if they win SS and Medicare concessions in the budget deal, they might just throw the debt ceiling in.  The debt ceiling has never been a point on which the GOP (and their backers) have been very comfortable drawing a line in the sand and holding it.  A lot of people with a lot of money stand to lose a lot of money in a debt ceiling default.  The same cannot necessarily be said for a government shutdown.

    3.  By passing a clean, short-term increase to the debt ceiling, they take all the pressure off themselves.  If the Senate won't hold a vote (because it would definitely pass), Dem leadership is to blame.  If Obama vetos it, then he is to blame for default.  My guess is the Senate will pass, and Obama will sign, a six month extension with gritted teeth.    

    •  If they win SS and Medicare concessions (0+ / 0-)

      it makes no difference to me what they do on the debt ceiling or anything else.  I will hold the Democratic Party responsible.

      Who is going to remember the debt ceiling in 2014 or 2016?  I will remember every cent they cut out of Social Security or Medicare benefits.  

    •   (0+ / 0-)

      "By passing a clean, short-term increase to the debt ceiling, they take all the pressure off themselves."

      Dems would be stupid to allow this hostage taking in 3 or 6 months--its all in the framing. I doubt they can even pass a clean debt ceiling bill without a dem majority--at least 30 teabaggers will vote against it, then why would Pelosi and dems assist them?

      Under the best scenario, lets say they do get the votes to pass a short term bill without Dem votes-if the senate passes a 2 or 4 year extension-and simply refuses to consider the short term bill wat will they do?

  •  Because HITLER!! And STUFF!!! (0+ / 0-)

    CONNECT THE DOTS HERE PEOPLE!!! (scribbles furiously on blackboard)

    "Teach a man to fish, he can feed himself for a life. Don’t feed fish." - Future President Paul Ryan

    by Fordmandalay on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 08:47:56 AM PST

  •  Seems to me to be a plan to have more (1+ / 0-)

    unnecessary drama our country does not need in a couple of months down the road. Why in the hell don't they just do their friggen jobs and work on immigration, ending the friggen war, creating jobs and etc. I am so sick and tired of their bullshit nonsense.. Damn it, do your friggen jobs you are being paid for, or step down and let someone else do it for you!!!!

  •  Gee, I wonder who yanked his chain (0+ / 0-)

    There must be a few more words that adequately describe this never-ending crap-fest other than "kabuki."

    The Aggressively Ignorant Caucus is getting aggressively ignorant again.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:07:41 AM PST

  •  Does anyone know... (0+ / 0-)

    If we start reducing the deficit, won't that remove the need of raising the debt ceiling?

  •  Huh? (0+ / 0-)

    I thought they postponed the sequester discussion to coincide with the debt ceiling discussion on purpose.  It's almost like they don't know what the heck they're doing.

  •  The debt limit is a bad joke--a Congressional (0+ / 0-)

    effort to hide that they are, in fact, in charge of the purse strings, the purse and what's inside. They are the issuers of currency, which, for all intents and purposes is nothing more that certified IOUs. Every dollar is a record of somebody owing somebody else something. Which is a good thing.  Because, if we don't have people recognizing their obligations, then what we have is unmitigated theft. The alternative to debt is theft. The predator may not recognize it as a theft when it takes another creature's life, but that's what taking something without giving something valued in return is -- theft.
    All sorts of creatures are good at theft.  Some, like the ravens, even take sparkly things for which they have no practical use, probably because they're simply practicing thieving. Like some human cat burglars, they are creatures of habit, who can't resist temptation.
    Most humans, however, endowed with the the powers of speech, develop the ability to ask for what they need, early on. Indeed, given that some humans are really poor parents, it's even possible that this deficit is compensated by the gift of gab--infants who can make their discomfort known are more likely to survive (like that baby that survived a week in the rubble after the Mexico City earthquake.

    The gift of gab. Perhaps that's all that stood between the folks who are now in Congress, voluble and antagonistic towards their fellow man, to stave off their iminent demise at the hands of uncaring and unconcerned and unconscious parents. That would explain a lot. Abusive parents leave us a legacy of talkative, vengeful representatives intent on making other people pay for the sins of their fathers, and some mothers.

    We organize governments to deliver services and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Fri Jan 18, 2013 at 09:49:57 AM PST

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