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Hullabaloo


Friday, January 11, 2013

 
Backing up the president in case he decides not to panic

by digby

Greg Sargent reports that Democrats are taking some steps to ensure that the President can take some unorthodox steps to deal with the debt ceiling if it becomes necessary:

In a move that will significantly ratchet up the brinksmanship around the debt ceiling, the four members of the Senate Democratic leadership are privately telling the White House that they will give Obama full support if he opts for a unilateral solution to the debt ceiling crisis, a senior Senate Democratic leadership aide tells me.

The four Democratic leaders — Senators Harry Reid, Chuck Schumer, Dick Durbin and Patty Murray — have privately reached agreement that continued GOP intransigence on the debt ceiling means the White House needs the space to pursue options for raising it that don’t involve Congress, and that the White House needs to know that Dems will support whatever it decides to do.
[...]
The White House has said it doesn’t believe the 14th amendment option is legal, and has refused to engage on the question of whether it sees the coin as a viable option, saying only that there is “no Plan B” and that the onus is on Congress to raise the debt limit.

The aide tells me, however, that top Senate Democrats see the 14th amendment option as far preferable politically to the coin. “Of the available options, the coin, on its face, is politically much worse than the others,” he said. “Whatever the legal arguments for and against it, the imagery will be difficult to combat. What better symbol of out-of-control government spending could you have than a trillion dollar coin?”

I understand that, but instead of just accepting it they could try to educate the public about the subject instead of just throwing up their hands and saying "it looks bad." These Democrats underestimate the ability of the public to comprehend something like this. Unfortunately, one of the problems with these seemingly never-ending "cliff" negotiations is that the Democrats seem to have decided that their best negotiating position is to repeatedly scream "the sky is falling" as loudly as loudly as possible --- and that means that solutions beyond capitulation (like going over the cliff or the platinum coin) are only talked about on the fringe and the general public never gets what's really going on.

It might very well work out fine, (after the usual dramatic kabuki pageant.) But it's also not unlikely that the Dems will panic as they usually do and start giving away the store once we get close to the deadline. That's been the pattern so far, even if the right wing is so idiotic that they refuse to take them up on their offer. Someday, they might just wise up.

If I were a betting person, I'd bet they won't and we'll have yet another delaying mechanism. Until the Democrats decide to pull the plug on this nonsense with something like the coin or the 14th Amendment, I can't see any reason why the Republicans would change. They like these showdowns. Makes 'em feel powerful.

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