Can you imagine the debt ceiling fight going month to month — for eternity? That’s John Boehner’s new vision for America, because even though Republicans know the debt ceiling has to be raised, they want to use it as leverage for all their demands. Forever.
Greg Sargent thinks it’s a sign that Republicans may not have the spine for a debt ceiling fight:
“Boehner does this by threatening to only agree to ‘monthly’ debt ceiling hikes. But this should be read, if anything, as a sign of weakness. It’s essentially a concession that the debt limit has to be raised; Boehner is merely threatening to drag his feet as he allows the inevitable to happen. But it’s just nonsense. The business community is not going to go for such a course of action, to put it mildly. And it risks dragging the country through monthly threats of default, a terrible thing to inflict on the American people.
Ultimately, what this highlights is the utter incoherence of the GOP position on the debt ceiling. Republican leaders know they have to raise the debt limit — they know the threat not to do this isn’t credible, and they need to signal to the business community that they don’t view this option seriously — yet they want to continue to use it as leverage to get what they want, anyway.”
Steve Benen agrees that it’s a sign of weakness:
“In order for a hostage standoff to work, everyone has to sincerely believe the hostage takers are prepared to follow through on their threats. In the case of the Republicans’ latest debt-ceiling crisis, that means President Obama and congressional Democrats have to be convinced that GOP policymakers will hurt Americans on purpose unless Dem meet Republicans’ demands.
[...] the fact that Boehner hedged at all on using the debt ceiling suggests there’s at least a small crack in the wall.Indeed, it’s not the only one. The Washington Post quoted Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) the other day questioning the utility of the strategy, noting “no one knows the ramifications of not passing a debt ceiling increase.” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was reluctant to rattle his saber, too, in his Sunday show appearances.
Newt Gingrich and the Wall Street Journal‘s conservative editorial board have also raised concerns about the apparent Republican plan. (I use the word “plan” loosely; to date GOP leaders have indicated they intend to hold the debt ceiling hostage, but they have not yet figured out what to put on the ransom note.)”
And Kevin Drum summarizes Boehner’s negotiating “skills” during the fiscal cliff negotiations — and what it probably means for future “negotiations” over the debt ceiling:
“Because in this case, the objective facts are really pretty clear. Boehner never once put forward a detailed plan, while Obama did repeatedly. And as Andrew says, Obama’s position moved in Boehner’s direction every time, with his revenue ask going down and his spending cuts going up.
In the end, though, Boehner just couldn’t make a deal. This isn’t because Obama was an arrogant bastard who never tried to understand their differences, it’s because a majority of Boehner’s caucus simply wasn’t willing to agree to a tax hike of any kind and Boehner wasn’t willing to back a plan that didn’t have majority GOP support. There’s really not much more to it than that. Boehner and Obama may well be tired of each other, but that’s not why their negotiations routinely fall apart. It’s because Boehner has no control over his own caucus.”
Is negotiating with lunatics and idiots — whose only concern is staying in their recently acquired, cushy, do-nothing jobs for life by answering only to the voters in their little gerrymandered districts — really what’s best for the country?