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Hullabaloo


Saturday, January 19, 2013

 
The Krauthamer gambit

by digby


The good news is that the Republicans appear to have decided to go with Charles Krauthamer's idea to have a hostage negotiation every three months rather than destroy the economy. Big of them:


CHARLES KRAUTHAMMER: The conclusion I came to is this. Republicans have tried brinksmanship, now twice under Obama with the fiscal cliff and debt ceiling, and got shellacked. And Gingrich tried it twice with the shutdowns in the '90s, and he got shellacked. If you're in opposition you cannot govern from the House. So, what do you do?

I thought the way to go ahead is do an incremental debt ceiling hikes where you ask for something relatively small but completely unassailable. I mean, what are the Democrats going to say? We're now going to allow America to go to default because we refuse to ask the Democratic Senate to pass a budget, which under law it has to do and it hasn't for 48 months?

(This column is what they are referring to.)

Short of having the Republicans get a collective brain transplant, this is probably the best we can hope for. But we don't know if the rump GOP agrees with Krauthamer's analysis that this is the best they can do. We'll have to wait and see if they agree to do this in the "small" ways that he advises or whether they will instead pick just one painful (to Democrats) item and use that as their demand.(It could easily work that way if they wanted to do it.)Because in the end, no matter how you slice it, as long as the debt ceiling vote remains, they've got a hostage and they'll still be threatening to kill it every three months. Whether they do this by a thousand cuts or one big explosion, the hostage still ends up dead. (If they have the nerve ...)

Meanwhile, we still have the sequester to deal with, which has all kinds of interesting cross currents. If the GOP truly has adopted the Krauthamer plan to take small bites wherever they can get them and live to fight for 2014, then this too could blow over, which would be great. There is nothing that says they cannot simply void that stupid deal and come up with a more reasonable one if they really want to. So it's at least possible that the worst of this may be over for the time being. (Of course, what is defined as "reasonable" is the scary part.)

But with the GOP showing this kind of weakness, it's more important than ever that the Democrats zip their lips and fight their tendency to reach across the aisle and offer up something to the Republicans as a gesture of bipartisan goodwill. Like the Chained-CPI, which everyone in DC has convinced themselves is a fantastic idea. At this point, anything major that gets cut is because the Democrats want to cut it, not because they have to cut it.

Meanwhile, progressives should be lobbying for a clean debt ceiling and end this drama once and for all. It doesn't sound as though the Republicans are willing to give up this toy altogether, but it's always possible they'll overreach in three months and the Democrats will have even more leverage. They should be prepared.

Progressive Congress is floating a petition that you can sign if you so choose:

Petition: I stand with progressives in Congress in support of abolishing the debt ceiling by passing the Full Faith and Credit Act of 2013.

It’s time to abolish the debt ceiling. What seemed like a simple way to consolidate federal debt in 1939 has turned into a yearly crisis that led, in 2011, to the first ever downgrade of the United States’ credit rating.

The House majority needs to responsibly agree to pay for the legislation they pass without threatening to wreck the economy if they can’t renegotiate the budget they’ve already approved for the year.

The American people are tired of having our futures held hostage to one manufactured crisis after another. The House majority needs to stop wasting everyone’s time and deal with real issues like job creation.

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