Saturday, January 19, 2013

Gone! The Republicans fold.

By Frank Moraes 

Eric Cantor would like you to know that he isn't giving up. It is just that they can't solve all the country's budget problems in one month. But four months? No problem! And you know that he's serious: he included the new Republican catch phrase, "No budget, no pay." I've got shivers.

For those of you not up on that stuff (And why would you be given all the news about Algeria?), the Republicans came out of their retreat with a great new idea: let's raise the Debt Ceiling for a little while -- three months. They claim that they are only doing this so that they can have time to fix the budget, but this is bullshit. I'm sure there are two factions here. The more reasonable Republicans think this is a way of easing into their inevitable loss. The other Republicans think this is a way to put off the confrontation until the optics are better.

The House leadership is making a big deal of the fact that they have passed a budget but the Senate has not. Of course, the House budget was just Ryan's plan with all its magic asterisks. But note that this is no longer a fight with the President. The House leadership seem to have decided that it can't be won. Why they think they are going to do better with the Senate, I do not know.

Greg Sargent argues that the Debt Ceiling is now dead and that the House Republicans have moved on to the upcoming budget vote to use as leverage. He even quotes a GOP aide who said that the House "may need a shutdown [of the government] just to get it out of their system." That's certainly true. I do think we will see a government shutdown, but that isn't that bad as long as it doesn't last long. And it is another opportunity for the Republicans to make themselves look bad.

I think there is another thing going on here. By pushing the Debt Ceiling back a couple of months, the Republicans put themselves in a position to use whatever deal they strike with the Democrats over the sequester as a reason to claim victory and raise the Debt Ceiling for a longer time period. But make no mistake, even though this is great news, the Republicans remain as big a problem as ever. There really is a drag on our economy, but it isn't regulation; it is the Republican Party. 

Afterword 

The title of this article is a reference to an article I wrote yesterday, "Republican Hostage Plans Going, Going..."

(Cross-posted at Frankly Curious.)

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