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Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Reich: Mitch McConnell Will Win the Day

Robert Reich says Mitch McConnell's plan for the debt ceiling "will win the day":

Why Mitch McConnell Will Win the Day, by Robert Reich: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s compromise on the debt ceiling is a win for the President disguised as a win for Republicans. But it really just kicks the can down the road past the 2012 election – which is what almost every sane politician in Washington wants to happen...
McConnell’s plan would allow the President to raise the debt limit. Congressional Republicans could then vote against the action with resolutions of disapproval. But these resolutions would surely be vetoed by the President. And such a veto ... could only be overridden by two-thirds majorities in both the House and Senate – which couldn’t possibly happen...
Get it? The compromise allows Republicans to vote against raising the debt limit without bearing the horrendous consequences of a government default.
No budget cuts. No tax increases. No clear plan for deficit reduction. Nada. The entire, huge, mind-boggling, wildly partisan, intensely ideological, grandly theatrical, game of chicken miraculously vanishes.
Until the 2012 election, that is.
McConnell, like most other Republican leaders, has all along seen the battle over raising the debt ceiling as part of a master plan to unseat Obama. Remember, it was McConnell who openly admitted the GOP’s “top goal is to defeat President Obama in 2012” – a brazen and bizarre statement in the face of the worst economic crisis in seventy years.
The GOP will weave Obama’s decision to raise the debt ceiling into the 2012 presidential campaign –- as well as Senate and House races — so 2012 becomes what they hope will be a referendum on Obama’s “big government.”
McConnell’s compromise will win the day. Expect much grousing from the GOP, especially those who feel they need to posture for the tea party. But ... Obama can’t agree to a budget plan lacking tax increases, especially on the wealthy. Republicans can’t agree to one including them. ... A compromise that allows both sides to save face is the easiest give of all.
Moreover, as the August 2 deadline approaches, big business and Wall Street (who hold the purse strings for the GOP) are sending Republicans a clear signal: Raise the debt ceiling...
Washington insiders will consider the McConnell compromise a win for Obama. But the rest of the country hasn’t been paying much attention... Their attention is riveted to the economy, particularly jobs and wages. If those don’t improve, Obama will be a one-term president regardless of how the GOP wants to paint him.

My inclination would be to take this as a sign the Republicans are on the ropes, and begin to squeeze a bit harder for a better deal (e.g., one with less political exposure). But I haven't given this as much thought as it deserves, and am not certain of the best course of action. So let me turn it over to you. Assuming the Republican base will tolerate it (an iffy assumption), should Obama take this deal? If not, what's the best course of action?

    Posted by on Wednesday, July 13, 2011 at 10:35 AM in Budget Deficit, Economics, Politics | Permalink  Comments (90)


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