Thanks to KQuark’s suggestion, this is an ongoing thread covering the latest updates and opinions from our members on the GOP manufactured crisis of raising (or not raising) the debt ceiling and the deficit cutting negotiations related to it.
To kick off the thread, here is a newly expanded piece based on a POV I posted yesterday on this situation:
Wall Street and The Kochs have again created a Frankenstein in the Tea Party. They can’t control them and have no direct influence over them…since they financed their elections through astroturf groups that are masquerading as populist.
Coming out and saying, “Okay, it was all a fraud, The Tea Party was all a fraud, it was our money and planning behind it. Now that you know that, you owe us for buying your election so stop believing in all the teabagger bullshit we’ve hammered into you for years and vote to raise the goddam debt ceiling!”
Instead, the rubes have taken over the circus and Wall Street is struggling and panicking at not being able to get them to follow their demands like good little Republicans always do.
This was a predicted eventuality by some folks here back in 2010, that giving the Tea Party extremists power in a GOP controlled house would be the very thing that ends up taking all of their power away. As a concept, sure people may at the very least relate to the “Stop the spending madness!” message of the Tea Party, even if they didn’t buy into the racist attacks on Obama and the dishonest blaming of it solely on the Dems currently in office.
However, once the general rants of “We want our country back!” are replaced with having actual power and having to make specific decisions, the true nature of these people is exposed and their single-mindedness and ignorance to facts and realities are no longer affirming but threatening.
Imagine sitting next to someone on a plane ranting about how badly the airline is operating and how badly the plane is being flown. Even though he blames it on the fact that the pilot is black, one may otherwise agree with his dissatisfaction with this flight on this airline. Now, imagine that enough people in the plane agree and vote for him to right these wrongs by having him piloting the plane instead. Even though he has no understanding of how things works, even though he doesn’t know or want to know the facts about how planes fly, on his popularity alone for railing against the current pilot, he is put into the pilot’s seat.
And the first thing he does is steer right towards the face of a mountain and threaten that if all of the changes he wants on the plane aren’t done exactly as he wants, he will crash the plane into the mountain and take out everyone on it.
And some of the changes he wants includes removing the Left wing and selling off the landing gear to another corporation, all while assuring the other passengers they have nothing to worry about because these changes will keep them safe, make the flight better and anyway, the theory of gravity is just a theory which he doesn’t believe in anyway (he believes in Supply Side Aerodynamics, meaning, the more altitude you lose, the higher you’ll end up flying because the altitude you gave up eventually trickles back down to your plane).
As long as he was just another passenger, howling complaints that even some reasonable people could identify with, he was not vulnerable to being exposed as a nut. Once he got his hands on the plane’s controls though, the lunacy and threat many overlooked before becomes strikingly clear and he and his like can then be disposed of by popular opinion.
This same scenario happened before with the Moral Majority, the previous incarnation of the Tea Party. They too were the ones who were supposed to be the pandered-to activist puppets to help Wall Street and the GOP but they too took over the show…and eventually led the GOP to disarray and defeat.
Add to this what seems to be a political miscalculation by the Tea Party and Repub leadership that Obama would cave on the debt ceiling to whatever they stood immovable on. They played this as the overconfident fools that they are. Simply because Obama compromised in the past, they ignorantly concluded he always will. For example, when Obama saved all those unemployed families from being cut off without money for presents, rent or food at Xmas, as a trade off for agreeing to the Bush Tax Cut extension. Many Purists conveniently forget the blackmail aspect of this though, the GOP put a gun to the head of over 3 million families and to protect them in that instance, Obama paid the ransom.
That didn’t make him weak, it made him principled and that’s what the Republicans just didn’t understand. They were threatening to harm millions of people, he couldn’t just stand by just to play politics and let them be harmed and was willing to take some punches himself to protect them. That was strength, not weakness but the reptile mind of the Republicans can’t recognize such things. To them, strong is hostile and uncompromising, weak is everything else.
What they failed to recognize is that their extortion couldn’t possibly work, not this time when it would destroy the nation’s future and go against all that Obama believes in. The simple fact that Republicans didn’t understand was that in the previous cases, there was a meaningful gain for Obama so he was willing to make a hard compromise.
This time, in a display of sheer ignorance and chutzpah, their refusal to give Obama ANYTHING, declaring that the only thing he wanted, revenues, were off the table, meant that there was nothing for him to get in any agreement. While they chuckled confidently among themselves that Obama would fold again, they had no understanding as to why Obama or anyone compromises…to get something they want.
It is a pretty simple proposition. And if your genius idea is that you’ll get someone who’s compromised before, to compromise again simply because they have before…without there being any gain for them in doing so…you are truly dumb as a bag of hammers or a member of the GOP Congress…or both.
Apparently, they seemed to think that as President, he’d have to worry about the people and the American economy that would be harmed by not raising the debt ceiling, he had a duty to protect them and they didn’t… so that would be his gain. Protecting America from Republicans destroying it. Really? Using the mindset of a melodrama villain is what passes for GOP strategy nowadays?
“Hand over the deed to the ranch or the train will run over the people of America who I’ve tied to the tracks! Ya-hah-hah! If you want to save their lives, sign the deed over to me now! [twirls mustache and hangs tea bags from his stovepipe hat].
And as for this brilliant 1960’s cartoon strategy of the GOP, it included holding Wall Street hostage along with all Americans…which doesn’t seem the most clever idea for a party beholden to Wall Street for the financing of their party and campaigns. If they were good strategists, they would’ve understood from the outset that Obama has no gain or motivation to give them all they want and get nothing he wants in return while this manufactured stand off will necessarily force them to eventually bow to their corporate masters’ wishes or severely damage their party. But no, they put all their chips down on the number 1, betting it all that their relentless propaganda that Obama was weak and always folds to their demands was true. Believing your own bullshit is always a big mistake.
Meanwhile, if forced to use the 14th Amendment, after putting so much on the table and showing how willing he was to make a deal, Obama will look like the adult and the responsible one working for all Americans while the Republicans look like spoiled brats who would cause the whole world crash and burn if they didn’t get everything they wanted (to serve less than half a percent of the population, the billionaires).
This game has been played by the Repubs with a brute force, single strategy of attrition. Meanwhile, Obama has been playing a well thought out strategic approach with numerous options and with a couple of secret weapons in his back pocket including the 14th Amendment and Wall Street’s eventual ordering Repubs to raise the ceiling.
Whatever happens, independent voters out there will not have legit grounds to say Obama did not try to compromise with Republicans or do what’s best for the country and the view of the Repubs is rivaling Rupert Murdoch’s with each passing day.
The Purists attack Obama again and again even though he keeps winning strategic victories over the GOP, here is a clear victory for him which is damaging the GOP and pushing it into a civil war (probably signalling the end of Boehner as leader). All of the tactics Obama used to enhance his strength and image and chop away at the Repubs were missed by the Purists who have such narrow vision and knee-jerk reactions to anything Obama does. By SAYING he was open to putting Medicare and SS cuts on the table, he gained an advantage in public opinion and over the Republicans without agreeing to any cuts. By SAYING he wanted a $4 trillion package including cuts and revenue, he gained again without agreeing to anything.
Each time Obama negotiates smartly to mess with the Republicans, the Purists go for the bait right alongside them. Not very bright folks at all, IMO. To be in a position of strength right now on this huge and dangerous issue is a victory already for Obama which makes the bash-Obama folks out there look just as bad as the GOP right now.
At this point, I have no idea how the Republicans get out of the corner they’ve painted themselves into. They hate government, want to starve it yet they want it to keep feeding themselves and their corporate bosses. The Republican Powers That Be whipped up the Tea Party to be a wild-eyed army of nihilists attacking the Democrats and Obama and they got what they wanted from them in 2010, control of the House and many state governments…but many of these crazed nihilists now control the voting of the GOP. Can they be bent to the will of Wall Street and the status quo Republicans, enough to pass something that raises the debt ceiling? I just don’t know and neither do the GOP leadership and Wall Street.
Will Obama step in under the 14th Amendment if no agreement is reached? I think so.
And in the aftermath, the Republicans looks like a party that is not fit or able to govern and has damaged their prospects for continuing to do so in 2012. They will have turned down a $4 trillion deficit reduction package Obama offered them, failed to get ANY deficit reduction passed, failed to raise the debt ceiling, failed to serve 80% of Americans who wanted a mix of revenues and cuts but succeeded in bringing America to the brink of economic destruction and energizing a civil war within their own party while antagonizing the Wall Street powers that put them in power in the first place.
And, despite all they campaigned on in 2010…they haven’t passed a single jobs-related bill, just political bills that haven’t and weren’t intended to create a single job or build up the economy.
That’s quite a package deal. And who the hell says Obama doesn’t know how to negotiate?