David Frum argues that the looming debt ceiling crisis is mostly President Obama’s fault, since he is being entirely too soft with Republicans, who are refusing to compromise.
There is plenty of room for argument that the President should have picked up a bigger stick some time back. But it’s not his fault he’s been pushed into negotiating with crazy people.
Perhaps he will there deploy some previously invisible form of leverage.
To the uninstructed eye, however, it looks like Obama has set up yet another lopsided bargaining table: He needs the Republicans to give him something, anything, that he can claim as a victory. This need, however, perversely puts the Republicans in the situation where if they give him something, anything, it will be represented as a defeat.
But you know that if the President had been playing hardball all this time, Frum would have written,
To the uninstructed eye, however, it looks
like Obama has set up yet another lopsided bargaining table: He needs the Republicans to give him something, anything, that he can claim as a victory.as if the President is continuing his failed approach of browbeating Republicans into submission. This needThe President’s gambit, however, perversely puts the Republicans in the situation where if they give him something, anything, it will be represented as a defeat.
The real reason the debt ceiling talks have taken the nation to the edge of disaster is that the Republican Party has been taken over by crazies. And in my experience, when crazy people are put in a position of power so that sane people have to deal or negotiate with them, the crazies win every time. They win for the simple reason that there is no reasoning with them.
And because that is true, sooner or later sane people will find themselves appeasing the craziness, because that’s the only way you can interact with crazy people. You have to smile and say of course you understand why they are upset about the gnomes in the restrooms who are sucking juice out of everyones’ brains, and you promise to take care of it as soon as they let Mr. Trumbell from the accounting department out of the cafeteria walk-in refrigerator.
If appeasing crazy people doesn’t work, your only other option is to find a way around them, such as keeping them distracted with shiny objects while police officers rescue Mr. Trumbell. Many people are suggesting the President use the 14th Amendment to bypass Congress. But Frum argues that if the President does turn to the 14th Amendment to save the nation and possibly the planet from disaster, the President would be impeached. But he may have no other options.