I’m not gonna lie to you, Marge. This has been a rough couple of weeks for me. And it’s not over yet.
Watching the Debt Limit negotiations play out has been like being trapped in a car on the train tracks watching the train hurtle towards you, only to stop, go backwards twenty miles and then come at you twice as fast because the Engineer wants to see some serious freaking air!
Thankfully, some developments have taken the brick wrapped with barbed wire off my chest.
1. Mitch McConnell seeming capitulation in the face of looming reality.
Mr. McConnell’s proposal would give Mr. Obama sweeping power to increase the government’s borrowing authority, in increments, by up to $2.4 trillion — enough, it is estimated, to cover federal obligations through next year — only if Mr. Obama specified spending cuts of equal amounts. But Congress would not have to approve the spending cuts prior to the debt-limit increase.
It is not clear whether House Republicans would sign on to such a measure, given their drive to extract deep spending cuts in return for any debt-limit increase.
The only down side to this was articulated by Lee Papa (A.K.A. The Rude Pundit.) and it’s too long to cut and paste but in a nut shell, the deal means hours of debate that includes easy to cut into soundbite ads of Democrats defending raising the Dept limit. (By the way, you should read the whole thing. If you like your political analysis filled with profanity and Anal Sex jokes, this man is your cup of tea.)
And I see Papa’s point but you know what? Fuck it, I’m still willing to roll the dice with this deal. Taking it means the Bond Market doesn’t collapse and America doesn’t turn into Somalia with more fried foods and I don’t have to worry about spending my golden years as a Janitor at the local Thunderdome.
As I’ve said before, the time to worry about the fall is after you’ve jumped out of the burning building.
2. Obama finally losing his shit:
According to multiple sources, disagreements surfaced early, in the middle and at the end of the nearly two-hour talks. At issue was Cantor’s repeated push to do a short-term resolution and Obama’s insistence that he would not accept one.
“Eric, don’t call my bluff. I’m going to the American people on this,” the president said, according to both Cantor and another attendee. “This process is confirming what the American people think is the worst about Washington: that everyone is more interested in posturing, political positioning, and protecting their base, than in resolving real problems.”
Cantor, speaking to reporters after the meeting, said that the president “abruptly” walked off after offering his scolding.
“I know why he lost his temper. He’s frustrated. We’re all frustrated,” the Virginia Republican said.
Democratic officials had a different interpretation. “The meeting ended with Cantor being dressed down while sitting in silence,” one official said in an email. “[The president] said Cantor could not have it both ways of insisting on dollar-for-dollar and still not being open to revenues.”
“At least Mitch McConnell, to his credit, was willing to work for a solution,” the president added, acknowledging the proposal by the Senate Minority Leader to, essentially, give him the authority to lift the debt ceiling without passing commensurate cuts.
“I have reached the point where I say enough,” Obama concluded, according to Reuters. “Would Ronald Reagan be sitting here? I’ve reached my limit. This may bring my presidency down, but I will not yield on this.”
You get the feeling that after three years of dealing with a GOP that not only feels no guilt over the Bush years but seems dead dog determined to bring them back as soon as possible, Obama may finally be ready to stop being so damn reasonable.
Not that it’s stopping him from trying to look reasonable.
(Yes, I am annoyed that WordPress will not embed MSNBC videos. But the video from the July 16’th episode of “The Last Word” can be found here.)
Now let’s assume for the moment…for the moment…that O’Donnell is correct and that this is all a big feint by Obama to get a clean bill. If he pulls that off, he will have successfully used their own reckless hate against them. Making himself seem like the reasonable guy in the room while the GOP stews in their own crazy. It would be the political equivalent of Superman defeating Lex Luthor with his own Kryptonite.
But if O’Donnell is wrong…keeping in mind that he’s a smart guy who’s had some experience with these things but the possibility exists…and Obama goes for the big deal that does include benefit cuts…that is going to make 2012 interesting in the Chinese Proverb sense of the word.
(And let me add one more time that if you failed to vote in the midterms, you do not get to complain since you are part of the reason the GOP got the House back in the first place. You do however, get to punch yourself in the balls.)
There are two other pieces of good news
1. In Wisconsin, the Democratic primaries for the recall elections broke big time in our favor.
MADISON, Wis. (AP) – All six fake Democrats lost to Democrats supported by the party in primaries Tuesday that are the first in a series of recall elections targeting nine Wisconsin state senators for their positions on Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s divisive union rights restrictions.
The winners advance to take on incumbent Republicans targeted for recall on Aug. 9.
The state Republican Party orchestrated the placement of the fake Democrats on Tuesday’s ballot, thereby delaying the general election for a month. That gave the Republican incumbents more time to campaign and distance themselves from the turmoil over the union law that they voted to support in March, spurring the recall efforts.
Five of the six winners had at least 65 percent of the vote, based on unofficial results. The sixth, Shelly Moore, had 54 percent.
This means that the people of the great state of Wisconsin are fully engaged and ready to take back the state from Scott Walker. The GOP should be paying very close attention to this.
2. They should also be paying attention to the Shakespearean…if Shakespeare used small words and trafficked in cheap irony…fall of Rupert Murdoch. I’m not going to link to any one story because the fallout has been so thick and heavy that any day, I except Ain’t It Cool News to post a story about this. (On the plus side, at least the talkbackers will have a subject worthy of their industrial strength bile.)
It should be noted the Fox News has gone out of it’s way not to cover this mess. At least, not in a serious way.
Yeah, complaining about hacking without mentioning that they were doing the hacking. That’s like bemoaning prostitution while balls deep in a Thai lady boy.
Lots of things are coming to a head this year. We’re either going to breakthough or breakdown. There’s no middle ground on this. And all we can do is keep our shoulder to the wheel and keep pushing. If you have a GOP Representative, now would be a good time to call them and let them know that if we default, they’re the ones who will get blamed!
(By the way, for those in OR-02, Greg Walden’s number is 202-225-6730.)
We can do this folks. Hope is not dead but we need to feed it with action.