Sunday, January 26, 2014

Republicans threaten economic armageddon. Again. Because they're Republicans.

By Michael J.W. Stickings

Republicans are at it again, threatening to refuse to agree to a debt ceiling increase, and therefore threatening economic catastrophe for the country (and globally), if they don't get what they want. They're not sure what they want, or rather what the ransom will be, they just know they're going to take hostages again. Here's how Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (in part sucking up to teabagging wingnuts for political self-interest) put it today on Fox News:

CHRIS WALLACE: So are you saying right here, "We are going to attach something to the debt ceiling"? And if so, what?

MCCONNELL: What I'm saying is we ought to attach something significant for the country to [President Obama's] request to increase the debt ceiling. That's been the pattern for 50 years, going back to the Eisenhower administration. I think it's the responsible thing to do for the country.

[...]

We're never going to default — the Speaker and I have made that clear. We've never done that. But, it's irresponsible not to use the discussion — the request of the President to raise the debt ceiling — to try to accomplish something for the country.

Talk about a ridiculous threat. We're not going to default, but we'll threaten to allow the country to go into default if we don't get what we want? Yeah, sure. There's no way the Republican Party's business backers will ever go along with default, so there's no way McConnell and John Boehner and the rest of the business-oriented leadership will let that happen. Which basically makes this an empty threat, and President Obama and the Democrats should treat it as such.

Otherwise, how is it "responsible" to threaten default? Actually, it's the exact opposite. Furthermore, holding the country hostage and trying to extract concessions from the party holding the White House hasn't been the "pattern" since Eisenhower, it's part of the new anti-Obama Republican obstructionism of which McConnell himself has been one of the most vocal champions.

Basically, the Republicans don't want to give Obama (or, presumably, any Democratic president, but it's worse with Obama given the rabid intensity of the anti-Obama right) anything that could be seen as a victory, and so they've basically turned themselves into the disloyal opposition that is apparently willing to do any amount of harm to the country to score political points.

Republicans may wrap themselves in patriotic rhetoric and symbolism, but their actions show their commitment to party and (extremist right-wing) ideology far more than country. This is just more of the same, as pathetic, and yet as dangerous, as ever.

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