More Chicken Games

Obama Administration

More than half of House Republicans say they are prepared to take the debt hostage and shut down the government to force the White House to make cuts in entitlement programs. The President says he’s not playing that game. If the House wants to trash the economy, it’s on them.

The tough talk was largely cheered by the left. As for the right, Paul Waldman says,

As any parent knows, when your children are young, you have one distinct advantage over them: you’re smarter than they are. It won’t be that way forever, but if it comes down to an argument, using words, with a six-year-old, you’re probably going to win. Faced with this disadvantage, children often resort to things like repeating the thing they’ve already said a hundred more times, or stomping their feet. Which brings us, of course, to the House Republicans. …

…I think by now all of us, including President Obama, know that these people are serious. But when they say “serious,” they don’t actually mean that they want to seriously confront the nation’s problems without getting distracted by trivial concerns. That’s not the kind of serious they’re talking about. When they say they’re serious and they want Obama’s attention, they mean it in the way that a suicide bomber is serious and wants attention.

See also Kevin Drum, GOP to Press: Obama Must Help Save Us From Our Own Crazy People and George Packer, Southern Discomfort.

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  1. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 14, 2013 @6:14 pm

    I question whether these are “Chicken Games,” as much as they are ‘Rooster Games.’

    We’re living through a time when older white males are lashing-out!
    And, their wives, and significant others (enablers), are helping them make their “Last Stand!”

    As an older white male, I can relate to some of that fear.
    But I don’t blame the other sex, or other races.
    I blame my fellow old(er) white males.
    As Pogo said, “We have met the enemy, and it is US!”

  2. Swami  •  Jan 14, 2013 @6:47 pm

    Maybe Obama should offer to exchange a ban on assualt weapons for a ban on food stamps. That might help to fragment the GOP unity a little further.

  3. Bonnie  •  Jan 14, 2013 @6:57 pm

    The facts of the matter are:
    The debt was incurred by a Republican President (George W. Bush) and a Republican Congress.
    The bill comes due with the debt ceiling being raised so we can pay this debt.
    Republicans won’t raise the debt ceiling; thus, are refusing to pay the debt they created–making them deadbeats.
    As a result, the President is going to have to decide what bills to pay and what ones not to pay if the celiling is not raised.

    I propose that the first bill the country doesn’t pay is the salaries of Congress. They are not doing their jobs. This includes Dems, Repubs, and Independents. No pay until they take the responsiblity of paying the bills they have already incurred. That seems reasonable to me.

    If they shut the government down, it doesn’t hurt Congress. But, it will hurt many other ordinary people like everyone who reads this blog. It will hurt many small businesses in the Washington, DC Metropolitan area. And, in the end, it will cost the taxpayers even more money because when the shutdown is over, they will vote to pay the Government workers for not working during the shutdown. And, the Government workers will throughout that whole time will have wanted to be at work.

  4. Stephen Stralka  •  Jan 14, 2013 @7:33 pm

    Waldman is certainly right about how not very smart they are. Anyone who can do basic arithmetic can see that “more than half” of House Republicans isn’t enough to make that threat stick. With 433 members currently in the House, and 233 of them Republicans, they actually need about 93% of their caucus or they’re just blowing smoke.

    So Obama and Pelosi only need to find 17 House Republicans who aren’t prepared to shut down the government and crash the economy unless they get huge spending cuts that nobody actually wants. i’m somewhat optimistic.

  5. Dolorous Stroke  •  Jan 14, 2013 @8:27 pm

    Stephen, with the exception of the fiscal cliff vote, Boehner has refused to allow a vote on any bill that doesn’t have the support of a majority of Republicans. It’s called the Hastert rule. The question is whether Boehner will forego the rule to prevent a default or a government shutdown. He says he won’t.

  6. Doug  •  Jan 14, 2013 @9:05 pm

    Dolorous S – An interesting point – Frankly, I don’t think Boehner has the cohones’ NOT to bring it up for a vote if the PODUS calls his bluff. The reason being Boehner and Boehner ALONE will take the heat. If Obama calls Boehner’s bluff, and it looks like he will, Obama hs the inauguration speech and the State of the Union address to summon the anger of the American public and dump the vitriol entirely on the Speaker of the House. At the end of the day, Boehner would like spending cuts without revenue increases if he can get Obama to cave in.

    If Boehner caves, the debt ceiling will be raised by a minority of republicans voting with the majority of democrats. This might be the first step to marginalize the Tea Party in the House – an alliance of a minority of sane republicans who will negotiate with democrats in order to move legislation forward. Boehner was reelected as Speaker on the 3rd. I’m not sure what the rues are for a recall a al mutiny.

  7. Swami  •  Jan 14, 2013 @9:32 pm

    When it comes to the debt ceiling I can’t get past the Iraq/Afghanistan wars..Not only for the obscene amount of money that’s been pissed away, but the complete irresponsiblity exhibited by our government for the whole insane episode.

    The voice in my head in regard to thinking honestly about solultions for wrestling down the debt or even making a constructive observation says to me..Don’t even effing go there..It’s total Clownsville. I’d be better off contemplating the building of moon colonies.

  8. Buckyblue  •  Jan 14, 2013 @10:07 pm

    I didn’t think about it Doug but that’s a pretty good way for repugs to play this. Let the minority of repugs vote to raise the ceiling and it will save the hard core conservatives the plight of being responsible and voting for it. They can still rail against Obama as the big spender even thought it’s not him spending money, he’s only paying their debts. A dumber system, and a dumber conversation, is hard to imagine.

  9. Swami  •  Jan 14, 2013 @11:43 pm

    Opportunity awaits…Don’t forget to bring your survival seeds..We’re going on the ark two by two.

  10. c u n d gulag  •  Jan 15, 2013 @7:18 am

    It will be interesting to see what happens to the Teabagger Fever that the Republican Party suffers from, if there’s a white male Democrat running for President in 2016 – or, Hillary. Remember, she was pretty popular in Appalachia, in 2008.
    Will there be a shift back to some sense of “normalcy”, or, is the base, and their politicians, too far gone?

    We’ll see.

    Rush is older, and after ‘slut-slamming’ Sandra Fluke, he’s been losing advertisers left and right – ditto for most of Reich-wing Radio.
    FOX’s ratings are dropping.
    Their Op-ed KKKolumnists are getting older, and so is the readership.
    The ‘base” is getting older.

    If for no other reason, Teabagging Fever may break because the host bodies for that fever will no longer be around in a few years.
    The nation is getting browner, and younger.
    So, we’ll see.

  11. Stella  •  Jan 15, 2013 @9:38 am

    Great idea, Bonnie. But just be sure to include the Congressional staff salaries on the witholding list. I’ll bet none of those showoffs would dare to face down the people who do their work for them.

    My fantasy is an army of paparazzi pestering the ringleaders. If it’s war they want – let’s see if they can handle it. It must be difficult to be tough when you NEVER have a moment of peace.

    The fools think their judgement day is way off in the future.

  12. Swami  •  Jan 15, 2013 @1:52 pm

    Will there be a shift back to some sense of “normalcy”, or, is the base, and their politicians, too far gone?

    My thought is …. “you can’t go home again”.