GOP’s latest hostage demand: ‘not even a plausible bid. It’s a cry for help.’

Posted by AzBlueMeanie:

Ezra Klein sums up the latest Tea-Publican hostage demand to extort concessions from Democrats in exchange for not destroying the American economy:

Wonkbook: The House’s debt-ceiling bill is…wow

It's not even a plausible opening bid. It's a cry for help.

More from Klein's post:

John Boehner isn't even trying to pretend his House of Representatives is a sane place anymore.

The House GOP's debt limit bill — obtained by the National Reviewisn't a serious governing document. It's not even a plausible opening bid. It's a cry for help.

HostageIn return for a one-year suspension of the debt ceiling, House
Republicans are demanding a yearlong delay of Obamacare, Rep. Paul
Ryan’s tax reform plan, the Keystone XL pipeline, more offshore oil
drilling, more drilling on federally protected lands, rewriting of ash
coal regulations, a suspension of the Environmental Protection Agency’s
efforts to regulate carbon emissions, more power over the regulatory
process in general, reform of the federal employee retirement program,
an overhaul of the Dodd-Frank financial regulations, more power over the
Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s budget, repeal of the Social
Services Block Grant, more means-testing in Medicare, repeal of the
Public Health trust fund, and more.

It's tempting to think that this is Boehner teaching his conference a
lesson. They told him what they wanted, and he's going to let them have
it — good and hard. House Republicans are walking into the
debt-ceiling negotiations with an opening bid that makes them look
ridiculou
s. This looks like an Onion parody of what the House's
debt-ceiling demands might be. It's a wonder it's not written in comic
sans.

But this is really the conference teaching Boehner a lesson. He had
so little support to raise the debt ceiling at all — and so little
trust from his members that he had a strategy to maximize their leverage
— that this is the bill he had to present. At this point, Boehner
either can't stop them, or he's too exhausted to try.

Greg Sargent adds at The Morning Plum: The GOP’s debt limit strategy is insane. People should say so.

This morning brings new details about the GOP’s strategy. With the
Senate set to send a “clean CR” stripped of Obamacare defunding back to
the House, Republicans are close to accepting that the shutdown push
will fail. So they will ask for a comical list of concessions in
exchange for raising the debt limit – including an Obamacare delay.

House Republicans will apparently vote on this before voting on
funding the government. The game is to mollify conservatives now and get
them to accept the need to fund the government with the promise of a
bigger fight later. The Post has the latest rundown on what Republicans will ask for in exchange for raising the debt limit, and note the consideration given to the item involving abortion:

In addition to delaying implementation of the health-care
law for one year, the bill would establish a timetable for tax reform,
squeeze $120 billion from federal health programs over the next decade —
in part by tightening medical malpractice laws — and cut federal civil
service pensions.

The measure also would approve construction of the Keystone XL oil
pipeline and advance other GOP economic goals, including increasing
offshore oil drilling, blocking federal regulation of greenhouse gas
emissions and restricting most forms of federal industry regulation.

About the only major piece of the Republican agenda missing from the
bill is a ban on late-term abortions — and some lawmakers who oppose
abortion were arguing to add that, GOP aides said
.

This could get some attention today, because Dems can seize on it to
argue that Republicans are asking for concessions that have nothing
whatsoever to do with the debt in exchange for raising the debt limit.

It remains to be seen whether major commentators and news orgs will
clearly and forthrightly reckon with — and convey to readers — how
insane the GOP position here really is.
I laid out the reasons for this yesterday, but the short version is that Democrats are not asking Republicans to give up anything in requesting that they support a debt limit hike.
They are not asking Republicans to agree to more spending. They are not
asking for new taxes. They are simply asking Republicans to join them
in making it possible for Congress to pay obligations it has already incurred,
and in so doing, avert economic catastrophe for the whole country.
There is no rationale for giving Republicans anything in return for
this.

Yet story after story portrays this as a battle in which both sides
are asking the other to make concessions, and in which it remains to be
seen whether a compromise will be reached. But the real ”compromise”
position here is one in which Republicans and Dems cooperate to avert
economic catastrophe for the country. It is not a “compromise” if Dems
unilaterally give up concessions in exchange for Republican cooperation
in making it possible to pay debts already incurred and thus averting
economic disaster for all of us. In this scenario, Republicans aren’t giving up anything. Only Dems are.

Folks will respond to this by arguing that anything is fair game in
politics, and there’s nothing really out of bounds in doing this,
because, well, Republicans can. Fine – but at let’s at least describe the GOP position accurately.

Expect to see more AP (All Propaganda) false equivalency, "both sides do it" reporting. The fact is we have one political party that is being controlled by the far-right fringe of the conservative media entertainment complex and that has gone batshit crazy. These ideological zealots are functionally incapable of governance, and are reckless and irresponsible enough to blow up the economy in pursuit of their fevered dreams.

By the way, a new Gallup poll
finds that only 22 percent of Americans now identify themselves as Tea
Party supporters, close to an all-time low. Even the “intensity gap” no
longer favors Teabaggers, with the amount of “strong” Tea Party
opponents outnumbering strong supporters. The tail is wagging the dog.

The Tea-Publican's economic terrorism and unprecedented government-by-extortion must come to an end.

And as Ezra Klein argues, Don’t just raise the debt ceiling. Get rid of it forever.

UPDATE: Matt Yglesias argues that the House GOP Just Showed Why Obama Can't Compromise on the Debt Ceiling:

The one thing Obama absolutely cannot do under any circumstances is negotiate over the statutory debt limit.

The reason is that Republicans are essentially asking for an end to
constitutional government in the United States
and its replacement by a
wholly novel system.

* * *

The absolute worst mistake Obama has made as president came back in 2011 when Republicans first pulled this stunt. … All manner of evils have fallen forth from that fateful decisions,
including an economic weak patch in 2011 the ongoing mess of
sequestration, and worst of all the setting of a precedent for future
crises. The good news is that the White House recognizes they made a
mistake, and the last time Republicans tried to pull this they didn't
give in. And they can't give in now. Not even a little bit. A terrible
monster was let out of the box in 2011 and the best thing Obama can
possibly do for the country at this point is to stuff it back in and
hopefully kill it.

UPDATE: Great catch by Steve Benen: Jon Chait noticed something especially interesting about the GOP's "megalomaniacal ambition."

Does that list sound vaguely familiar? It's Mitt Romney's 2012 economic plan. Almost word for word, in fact. […]

The fact that a major party could even propose anything like this is a
display of astonishing contempt for democratic norms. Republicans ran
on this plan and lost by 5 million votes. They also lost the Senate and
received a million fewer votes in the House but held control owing to
favorable district lines. Is there an example in American history of a
losing party issuing threats to force the majority party to implement
its rejected agenda?

Since the U.S. Civil War? No, there are no such examples.

* * *

Other than our Civil War, there's just no precedent in American history
for anything like this. It's rather terrifying, actually.

Comments are closed.