Teabaggers threaten to burn down the House in order to save it
With the dreaded Aug 2 debt celing deadline approaching fast, Speaker of the House John Bohener rounded up enough Teabaggers to barely pass the Rethugs’ latest debt ransom demand. Even with all the backroom arm twisting, made more difficult by the Teabaggers’ earlier victory in eliminating earmarks that have traditionally been used to change votes in situations such as this, 22 of them still voted no, along with every single Democrat.
To round up the extra votes, The Orange Man had to make the bill even less palatable than the one that died in the Senate earlier in the week. The new bill requires that another vote to raise the debt ceiling be taken 6 months down the road, in the middle of the 2012 presidential election frenzy. If additional draconian cuts to the social safety net are not made at that time, it would automatically trigger a balanced budget amendment, a long time conservative wet dream that could never pass on it own merits through the normal legislative process.
To no one’s surprise, the new bill has already been tabled in the Senate, begging the question as to why so much energy was invested in something that was doomed to failure from the start. Orange Man says its to give the Rethugs “leverage” with the Senate and President Obama. But that’s wishful thinking. Despite the track record of the White House’s Office of Preemptive Capitulation to bend over whenever the Rethugs unzip their fly, balancing the budget on the backs of the middle class and the poor is just a bridge too far for most congressional Democrats, who count the latter as their bedrock constituency.
Also, by wasting an entire week making a bad proposal worse, it improves the odds that the Boner Bill would be the only legislation on the table when the clocks runs out. This latter possibility received a boost this morning from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom Harry Reid likes to call a good friend and amenable to compromise. In an unprecedented demand that a debt limit vote require cloture, McChinless insisted that Reid round up 60 votes to put his already severly compromised compromise into play. McConnell backed his bet with a letter saying all 43 Rethuglican senators were on board for a cloture vote, effectively neutralizing Reid’s otherwise succesful efforts to bring some 6 Rethug senators aboard the compromise train, one short as it is turning out.
Additionally, the House Rethugs created and voted affirmatively on a bogus bill that contained the major provisions expected to be contained in Reid’s bill. The obvious play here being a signal to wavering Rethug senators that compromise was an exercise in futility. Ergo, McConnel’s demand for a 60 vote threshhold while preening Rethug pricks like Rand Paul challenged Reid to bring it on, “it” being the aforementioned unprecedented 60 vote cloture threshold. Earlier in an interview with some cable tv show or the othe, Paul dissed Obama by saying that, paraphrasing here: We need to clear the decks so that Obama can get about his real concern– raising funds for his re-election campaign. As if the failure to raise the debt ceiling on the country and the world as a whole were secondary considerations.
But enough of the tactical machinations. Strategically, what we are really talking about is the 2012 presidential election. Despite The Great Capitulator’s willingness to alienate his own moderate, liberal, and progressive base by doing things he promised he would never do– take increased revenues off the table, put Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid cuts ON the table– the Rethugs won’t take YES for an answer.
How ironic. Our supposedly liberal president, whose soaring rhetoric has never matched his actual corporatist deeds, can’t sell out fast enough to satisfy even the Rethugs. Really, Mr. President and your failing political advisers, how could you not see this coming? Once you were tagged as capitulators willing to make any deal necssary to preserve your centrist political posturing, how can you be surprised when the Rethugs move the Overton Window as far to the right as possible, using the Teabaggers as their stalking horse?
Don’t you remember that early on, McConnell stated that the Rethugs’ top priority was to deny you a second term, regardless of the effects on the larger national and global economy? They have made the obvious political calculation that a failure to raise the debt ceiling, with its consequent deleterious effects on interest rates, jobs, consumer confidence, and the world economy as a whole, will damage your reelection prospects. Are you really that fucking naive to expect cooperaton from them at this point when they hold a gun to the economy’s head, presidential elections being about the economy, stupid?
While an argument can be made that last years extension of the Bush tax cuts was a necessary trade-off for extending unemloyment insurance for the ’99ers, and for putting a few more dollars into the pockets of working class Americans viz a largely unnoticed payroll tax reduction designed to pump additional cash flow into the economy (captured by our ever opportunistic oil companies when they immediately raised their prices in response), your most recent capitulations vis a vis the debt ceiling betray your true corporatist sentiments. For the details of which see, this e.g. this post at Washington’s Blog that features this instructive vid:
Back off or I’ll shoot myself!
Barely a month into the new Obama presidency, after he announced his team of economic advisers, many of whom were responsible for the financial collapse of 2008, I wrote this: We are so fucked.
Seeing that come to fruition now. Looks like our prez is going to have to break out another 55 gallon barrel of Vaseline to insure that the Rethugs get everything they demand.