Unilateral disarmament in a ‘civil war’ is not an option

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

As I said in the previous post,"Make no mistake, these economic terrorists are anti-government
insurrectionists at war with the United States government. And President
Obama has a constitutional duty to do whatever is necessary to preserve
the Union and to put down this insurrection against the United States
government."

As Paul Krugman noted, Senate Democrats gave President Obama full backing
in any unilateral action he might take on the debt ceiling. Reports say
that Harry Reid is still partial to the 14th amendment; but there’s
also the $1 trillion-dollar platinum coin and the "moral obligation bonds" or some other form of scrip option. Is That A Backbone I See?:

Just to be clear, there’s no need for the administration to commit to a
solution now, or even to admit that it has one in mind. You still want
the pressure on the GOP to turn away from this cliff. But you also want
to be careful not to rule anything out
, partly so that the GOP
understands that it may face a grand fizzle, partly because it may be
necessary to do something to avert default.

Sigh. As I noted in the previous post, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney has ruled out the 14th Amendment option and the $1 trillion-dollar platinum coin option, simply insisting that Congress must meet its constitutional obligation to govern responsibly. Unilateral disarmament in a "civil war" is not an option.

Paul Krugman laments, So What Will You Do, Mr. President?:

If I’d spent the past five years living in a monastery or something, I
would take the Treasury Department’s declaration that the coin option
is out as a sign that there’s some other plan ready to go. Maybe 14th Amendment, maybe moral obligation coupons or some other form of scrip, something.

And maybe there is a plan.

But
as we all know, the last debt ceiling confrontation crept up on the
White House because Obama refused to believe that Republicans would
actually threaten to provoke default. Is the WH being realistic this
time, or does it still rely on the sanity of crazies?

Inconceivable!

The thing is, the coin option sounds silly, but it clearly obeys the letter of the law. As far as I can tell, none of the other options — other than outright surrender — has the same virtue. Failing to pay debt service would be a breach of contract. Paying contractors, and maybe Social Security recipients, in scrip would violate the law, which says that they should be paid — not given IOUs. Deciding that the president has the right to ignore the debt limit after all would avoid these legal breaches at the expense of another breach.

And default in any of these senses would risk a huge collapse of confidence.

So is there a plan, or will it just be another case of tough talk followed by a tail-between-the-legs retreat?

As
I said, if we didn’t have some history here I might be confident that
the administration knows what it’s doing. But we do have that history,
and you have to fear the worst.

"What would Lincoln do," Mr. President? Certainly not surrender to anti-government insurrectionists at war with the United States government.

The State of the Union Address is on February 12, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, just days before the U.S. government is estimated to default on its debt. U.S. May Default On Debt As Soon As February 15 – Business Insider. The United States does not negotiate with terrorists, Mr. President. It is time to summon your inner-Lincoln.

UPDATE: Ezra Klein seems to believe that President Obama is following Sun Tzu's "Art of War" in burning his boats and the bridges behind him to block the retreat of his army to impress upon them that survival means fighting to the death. On the debt ceiling, the White House tries to solve its credibility problem:

Obama is purposefully painting himself into a corner. He has taken all
the various end runs around the debt ceiling — the platinum coin, the
14th Amendment, etc. — off the table. And he’s saying he won’t negotiate
over the debt ceiling so loudly, so emphatically, so clearly, and so
often that he is putting his credibility on the line. If, after all
this, he does indeed negotiate over the debt ceiling, the White House
will lose all credibility in all negotiations going forward. That’s not
something they can afford to do, and so the White House is hoping that
Republicans, once they realize what Obama is doing, will realize he’s
serious: He really won’t negotiate over the debt ceiling
. At this point,
he’s made it so that he can’t.

It's a theory. Only it is Obama who needs to convince himself that there is no retreat and he must fight to the death.

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