Republican lawmakers, who staunchly oppose President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, are considering using a fall showdown over the country's borrowing limit as leverage to try to delay the law's implementation.What we don't know is whether Republicans are actually serious about entertaining this or if they are just looking for a way to distract their insane caucus from Ted Cruz's defund Obamacare scheme, which would apply the hostage crisis to government funding instead of the debt limit.
The idea is gaining traction among Republican leaders in the House of Representatives, aides said on Wednesday. An aide to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said the debt limit is a "good leverage point" to try to force some action on the healthcare law known as "Obamacare."
"There are plenty of discussions ongoing but no decisions at this point," said another leadership aide.
Whichever scenario is closer to the truth, it's dysfunctional. On the one hand, if Republicans really believe that they can repeal Obamacare by threatening to blow up the world economy, then they are simply insane to the core, at every level, in every possible way. On the other hand, if they are just trying to dangle another carrot to give their lunatic caucus a reason to step back from the edge of disaster on the government shutdown, then they are chickens and cowards for coddling and encouraging their party's extremists.
Ultimately, there's probably a bit of both scenarios going on here, but the one thing that brings me a sense of comfort is that they are equally doomed. If they are running a bluff, which I suspect, they will cave, in the end. If they aren't running a bluff, then there are still options available to the president to avoid disaster. I know that he's previously ruled out things like the trillion dollar coin, but if Republicans actually force him to choose between something like that and letting their economic terrorism destroy the world economy, I can't imagine he would let them explode the bomb.
Obviously, he's not going to come out and say that, because it would make him become the issue, rather than them—and in this, they are the issue. And even if he did neutralize the worst of their threats, the uncertainty their actions would cause would be bad. But the key point here is that no matter how you look at it, Republicans don't have the leverage they think they do. One way or another, playing games with the debt limit will fail. The only question is this: How much drama are they going to force the nation to endure before they finally implode?