Basically, the Republican theory of compromise is “you have to give in to my demands, but I don’t have to give you anything in return.”
Yesterday the remaining Republicans in Joe Biden’s debt ceiling negotiations walked out. Why? Because they’d reached the “tax increase” portion of the program. Per the Republican theory of compromise, they demanded that all tax increases be taken off the table entirely. And the Dems said, no deal. So Eric Cantor had what some are calling a hissy fit and a temper tantrum and walked out, followed by John Kyl. So no Republicans are left to negotiate.
John Dickerson says, never fear. The tax increase deal will be cut between John Boehner and President Obama. The walkout is just political theater.
Ezra Klein thinks the situation is more serious, since whichever Republican leader cuts the deal will be falling on his sword.
Cantor has the credibility with the Tea Party that Boehner lacks. But thatâ€™s why Cantor wonâ€™t cut the deal. The Tea Party-types support him because heâ€™s the guy who wonâ€™t cut the deal. He canâ€™t sign off on tax increases without losing his power base. But if heâ€™s able to throw it back to Boehner, and Boehner cuts the deal, thatâ€™s all good for Cantor: Boehner becomes weaker and he becomes stronger. Which is why Boehner will also have trouble making this deal. Itâ€™ll mean he made the concessions that Cantor, the true conservative, didnâ€™t. Thatâ€™s not how he holds onto the gavel in this Republican Party.
One analysis of the House GOP right now is that there are two players in the GOP who can cut a budget deal: Eric Cantor and John Boehner (and, on some of the other budget issues, Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers). One of them is going to have to do it. Which means one of them is going to lose his job. The optimistic take is that what weâ€™re seeing right now is a game of musical chairs over which one of them itâ€™ll be.
Of course, sniveling weenies that they are, the
poor babies Republicans are blaming the President for their predicament. Yesterday Cantor called on the President to make his position clear (clue: he has already done that). And Mitch McConnell is babbling about failures of leadership.
“It’s worth asking: Where in the world has President Obama been for the last month? Where is he? What does he propose? What is he willing to do to reduce the debt? And to avoid this crisis, that’s building on his watch?” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said today.
“He’s the one in charge. I think most Americans think it’s about time he started acting like it. It’s not enough for the President to step in front of a microphone every once in a while and say a few words that somebody hands him to say about the jobs situation and our economy. Americans want to see that he’s actually doing something about it.”
Raising the debt ceiling is Congress’s job, of course. The President cannot do it. But McConnell wants daddy to come and hold his hand, I suppose.
Headlines are saying the “White House” is absent from the negotiations, sort of overlooking the fact that the guy who’s been leading the negotiations, with the title “Vice President,” is part of the Obama Administration.
The truth is, the Republicans had no intention of honestly negotiating, but they lack the moral courage to admit this. Instead, they blame everybody else. Oh, and then they’ll all go out and make speeches about how Republicans stand for personal responsibility.