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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

 
"He's said two very different things"

by digby

Andrea Mitchell and Stu Rothenberg were handwringing about the debt ceiling this morning. But Rothenberg, at least, did note something that nobody else ever seems to recognize:

Speaker Boehner has said two very different things. He has said that they won't raise the debt limit unless there is corresponding debt reduction. And he's also said that absolutely we're going to raise the debt limit, we're going to abide by our obligations.


No analysis of what that really means, however. (That his threats are meaningless.)


Mitchell also missed the point and went on with the GOP set-up on "conceding" Medicare cuts as part of the debt ceiling negotiations.

Mitchell: You've had mixed signals from Eric Cantor, and from head of Ways and Means, Dave Camp, and importantly, from Paul Ryan, about whether Medicare and the big deal is or is not part of these negotiations.

Rothenberg: I was talking to a Republican earlier this morning. He said to me that his members, that is Republican candidates who have been elected to congress, have been getting hammered for weeks and weeks and months on debt and this is what Republican voters really care about, it is debt and spending and deficits. The party has to maintain a very hard line position on this.


That's a talking point. And it's being carried by all the Republicans who want the country to believe that John Boehner simply has no choice but to blow up the country unless he gets some serious concessions from the Democrats on raising the debt limit. Evidently we are all supposed to accept that the hard core GOP base is running the country despite the fact that they account for only about 25% of all voters.

If the Republicans really are so nuts that they are willing to destroy this already fragile economy, even against the wishes of their Wall Street overlords, to appease a bunch of Fox-addled fools, then they should be called on it and held responsible for what happens. This is rule by a terrorist minority and if they are given this kind of power there will be no end to it. If, on the other hand, the entire political class of both parties sees this as another opportunity to deliver for Wall Street and corporate America in both the short term and the long term with these draconian budgets then we have a different problem.

It's very hard to believe that the Democrats are such handicapped negotiators. Even a child would recognize that the Republicans are the ones with the political challenge on their hands and all the Democrats have to do is sit back and let the GOP answer to Wall Street's short term angst. I don't believe they are so stupid they don't see this. There's a reason that the Democrats are allowing this to play out the way it is. They want cuts too --- it's just a matter of which ones.

Why they feel the need to allow the Republicans to pretend to be driving that bus is anybody's guess. It won't buy them a single vote and it will make their own base feel either sour or defensive. And they look like losers to the people who don't pay attention to the details.

This is the worst kabuki I've ever seen. To be honest, I didn't think any of them would have the nerve to go through with it. It's so crude and obvious that it's excruciating to watch. And think about this: it isn't even the big kahuna. It's very likely they are going to save the real "entitlement" and "deficit reduction" fight for 2012 budget battle.



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