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July 12, 2011

More on McConnell

First of all, there is McConnell's proposal, and then there is the speech McConnell made explaining the reasons for it.

The latter is good. It's 16 minutes long, but it's good.


If you don't have time to listen to it, Jen Rubin collects up the key quotes.

“Incredibly, for those of us who had been calling for action on this issue day in and day out for about two years, the President tried to put the burden on us. With the nation edging closer to the debt limit deadline, the President retreated behind the poll-tested rhetoric of class warfare.

“At a moment when we needed leadership the most, we got the least. The financial security of the nation was being gambled on the President’s wager that he could convince people our problems would be solved if we just all agreed to take it out on the guy in the fancy house down the street.

“In my view, that was the saddest commentary on the status of the leadership at the White House.

“And I’m proud of the fact that Republicans refused to play along.

“We stood our ground. We know that what Americans need right now is for government to make job creation easier, not harder. And we said so. At a time when 14 million Americans are looking for work, we refused to support a tax hike. We supported jobs and economic growth instead.

For more than two years now, Republicans in Washington have stood united in the belief that America would never recover from the economic crisis that struck our nation three years ago, so long as some in Washington persisted in the mistaken belief that government had the cure.

There are more quotes at Rubin's article; it was a good speech. He sums up by noting that Obama insists on one of these three options:

1) Raising taxes

2) Smoke and mirrors to conceal the fact he's not cutting spending, and endeavors to persuade the Republican Party to join him in this deception

3) Default

...and that Republicans will not agree to any of these. From that, he concludes that real change is impossible while Obama is President.

Now, regarding his actual "backstop" plan.

Guy Benson explains. It's about politics. Or at least Republicans refusing to go along with one of Obama's "three options."

here's how the proposed plan would work: Republicans in Congress would agree to vote to authorize the president to propose three separate incremental debt ceiling increases, spaced over the remainder of his term. He would be required to couple each request with a corresponding set of spending cuts that exceed the dollar amount of his sought-after debt limit hike. These cuts would be of his choosing alone. The first pair of requests would come prior to the August 2 deadline. It would be for roughly $700 Billion. The next requests, for $900 Billion, would come in the fall, and the final tranche (also for $900 Billion) would be scheduled for summer of 2012 -- in the thick of the campaign cycle.

In all likelihood, on each occasion, Republicans would overwhelmingly vote to disapprove of the president's debt ceiling increase request. This allows GOP members (and almost certainly some vulnerable Democrats) to technically vote "no" on raising the debt ceiling. If, as is likely, simple majorities in both houses vote to disapprove of the president's requests, he'd be forced to veto each disapproval, pinging the issue back to Capitol Hill. If Congress can't override those vetos with 2/3 majorities (and Republicans won't have the votes, even with some Democrats), the debt ceiling will increase. But not without the exacting a substantial political price from the president and his allies in Congress. They will own the debt ceiling hike. Period. Members of Congress who vote with the president will set themselves up to be targeted by brutal attack ads ("so-and-so has voted to increase the national debt limit three times in the last year alone," etc).

As I said, it's all about making them own this. If they're going to insist on this, then they should own it.

Now, I still think this is giving up, more or less, even if it the politics of it are good for us.

But this could wind up helping us get an actual deal -- if the Democrats look at this scheme and realize We're going to lose this debate near the 2012 elections if we don't settle now, who knows, maybe it can put some seriousness of purpose into them.

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posted by Ace at 03:46 PM

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