Monday, July 11, 2011

Mitch McConnell says no one is talking about not raising the debt ceiling. In other words, Mitch McConnell is lying.

Yesterday on Fox News Sunday, the Senate minority leader said that "nobody is talking about not raising the debt ceiling. I haven't heard that discussed by anybody." (See clip below.)

But actually, many Republicans are talking about that, including Michele Bachmann. Host Bret Baier pointed that out, but McConnell preferred to ignore that inconvenient little fact. McConnell surely knows what other Republicans are saying, what views are prominent throughout the Republican Party. So who was he referring to, and what was his point? Here's Digby with an explanation:

I'm fairly sure he's talking about the people who are negotiating the deal, not Michele Bachmann. And yes, they all agreed up front that they must raise the debt ceiling. Nobody is seriously contemplating walking away. The President hasn't even made the slightest feint in that direction by issuing a veto threat if they send him something outrageous, so the Democrats aren't even pretending to play that game. And McConnell just let the cat out of the bag (it has never exactly been in) that they don't take the Tea party caucus seriously either.

In other words, this is all just negotiating -- "the trial balloons all show that the 'negotiation' is really over how much cutting -- and in what areas --- each side can agree to," and so all the serious Republicans on Capitol Hill are doing now is "negotiating the spin."

Like Steve M., I disagree. While I think that a deal will likely get done soon, mainly because Obama has agreed to give up so much, McConnell was simply lying, not just spinning:

It's McConnell's job to go on TV and do as convincing an imitation as he can of a reasonable man. More to the point, it's his job to spin any failure to reach an agreement as 100% the Democrats' fault.

Okay, so that's lying + spinning. Digby seems to think that McConnell is actually being open and honest about what's going on in the Republican Party, but it seems to me that he's just preparing for the apocalypse that would follow a failure to raise the debt ceiling -- and preparing to score as many political points as possible off it by blaming Democrats.

"Who us? No, we were never talking about not raising the debt ceiling. We were all for that. But Obama, he just wouldn't compromise, and the Democrats just wouldn't negotiate seriously. It's a lack of leadership on their part. These are tough times and we need to make tough decisions. We were prepared to work out a deal, but they said no, and now we're all fucked. So vote for us!"

I have no doubt that some Republicans, including establishment types like McConnell, think that the Tea Party is insane. But this isn't about the McConnells and Boehners of the party warding off the extremists to get something done for the common good. This is about Republicans refusing to agree even to a deal that would give them almost everything they want, which seems exactly what Obama is willing to agree to at this point, about Republicans walking away from the negotiating table, and about Republicans essentially being held hostage by the Tea Party, which is not just talking about not raising the debt ceiling but which is also prepared to run primary campaigns against anyone who deviates from their right-wing orthodoxy.

Republicans are scared shitless, which is why they haven't agreed to a deal yet, and why they're doing everything they can to pin the blame on the other side, and to convince the media to pin the blame on the other side. Why else did Boehner back away from a comprehensive deficit-reduction package over the weekend? The man fears for his political life. Many Republicans do. 

And they apparently think that the only way they can win this, politically speaking, is to avoid altogether choosing between what must be done (and what the party's financial backers say must be done), namely, agreeing with the president to raise the debt ceiling, and what the Tea Party and various others on the right say must be done, namely, standing ideologically firm and refusing to allow it. Maybe the saner Republicans know that the apocalypse is at hand, but internal political pressures seem to be just as powerful, if not more so. Forget the future health of America. These guys just want to get re-elected. And, again, they seem to think it might just work out for them if they don't choose one or the other, which would mean alienating one side or the other, and instead do what they can to spin the problem as the Democrats' fault.

It's an awfully dangerous game to be playing -- not so much for them but for the country. But it's what the Republican Party is all about these days.

Labels: , , , , , ,

Bookmark and Share


Post a Comment

<< Home