Thursday, October 10, 2013

Is Now A Good Time For A Reprise Of Blazing Saddles?

This point has been mooted around the internet so its not new. Not at all.  The Republicans know they have to raise the Debt Ceiling because their real paymasters have told them so, in no uncertain terms.  But apparently they are still going to use it to score political points and to try to negotiate the destruction of our remaining social safety net--to force Obama and the Dems to do the dirty work of cutting Social Security and Medicare (as well, presumably, of forcing Medicaid back to pre-Obamacare numbers). If they are working from the usual stylebook they will also demand the privatization of the entire Department of Education and the defunding of the EPA among other things.

There's nothing to stop them from continuing to attach these demands to the Debt Ceiling hike--even if it is extended 6 weeks or whatever they think they are going to do. Especially if they refuse to open the government. In fact SteveM wonders whether they don't intend to try to run the government on a continuing partial shutdown basis in which they fund only the parts that make the most impact on white middle class voters while keeping the rest shut down.  I think they will certainly try to do this: call it a Continuing Republican Resolution. We fund only the pretty parts of government and let the rest die on the vine. They have formed the intention of defunding Obamacare and now they realize they can defund/refuse to fund anything they want. So this will be the new normal going forward.

So now would be the time, I think, for the Nuclear Jiu Jitsu move of all time. Obama and the Dems are already refusing to reopen negotiations until the government shutdown is ended and a clean CR is on the books. I think they have to go farther--not only should there be a clean CR with no preconditions for negotiations afterwards but Obama and the Dems have to refuse to raise the debt ceiling at all unless its clean and good until the next congress. Thats right: no money for you bankers and Koch brothers.  If Obama doesn't take the hostage back, even if that involves holding himself hostage like the Sheriff in Blazing Saddles, we are probably doomed. There is nothing to stop Boehner and the Republicans from continuing on this downward path and although they can lose some more public approbation that won't affect anything. Ultimately they will continue to hold hostages until they destroy something. Its true that if they can point to Obama as the cause of the ultimate death of the economy that will be bad for the Dems--but they are going to do that anyway, regardless. That, too, is in their nature. They will pull the pin on the grenade and wail "look what you made me do."

Two can play at brinksmanship. I think Obama and the dems have been patient long enough. And its not working. We are looking at a situation of that is more akin to Nixon's Mutually Assured Destruction scenario than it is a regular negotiating situation. And we must act accordingly.

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