They’re Not Even Pretending Any More

See GOP’s Dangerous Debt Limit Demand: A Christmas Tree Of Conservative Goodies. Then read Matt Yglesias, House GOP Just Showed Why Obama Can’t Compromise on the Debt Ceiling.

The one thing Obama absolutely cannot do under any circumstances is negotiate over the statutory debt limit.

The reason is that Republicans are essentially asking for an end to constitutional government in the United States and its replacement by a wholly novel system.

From Jonathan Strong’s report at NRO, what Republicans want in exchange for agreeing to not default on the national debt is a one year delay of Obamacare, Paul Ryan’s tax reform, the Keystone XL pipeline, partial repeal of the Clean Air Act, partial repeal of bank regulation legislation, Medicare cuts, cuts in several anti-poverty programs, making it harder to launch medical malpractice lawsuits, more drilling on federal land, blocking net neutrality, and a suite of changes designed to make it harder for regulatory agencies to crack the whip.

Things like this do happen. The British system of government used to feature a ruling monarch who was checked in limited ways by two houses of parliament. Over time, those houses of parliament leveraged their control over tax hikes into overall control of the government. On a somewhat slower time frame, the elected House of Commons nudged the House of Lords out of almost all of its de facto political power. And that’s the House’s proposal here. The president should become an elected figurehead (not dissimilar to the elected presidents of Germany, Israel, or Italy) whose role is simply to assent to the policy preferences of the legislative majority.

They aren’t even pretending to care about democratic representative government. They’re just out to use whatever brute force they have to get what they (or their masters) want.

9 thoughts on “They’re Not Even Pretending Any More

  1. This whole thing is maddening, were are the democrats, I don’t see anyone out there willing to help the president, why aren’t they out there saying what this blurb says: if the republicans want these things they should try to get them passed into law by introducing a god dam bill, this is a democracy?

  2. The president should become an elected figurehead (not dissimilar to the elected presidents of Germany, Israel, or Italy) whose role is simply to assent to the policy preferences of the legislative majority.

    I think Yglesias might have it backwards. I certainly agree that the Republicans are threatening our constitutional system, but I think they’re as likely to make Congress irrelevant as the president. On the debt ceiling, for instance, their behavior has gotten so ridiculous that I think Obama could defy them and get away with it much more easily than he could have the first time around. If they don’t raise the debt ceiling, I’m pretty well convinced that he’ll keep paying the nation’s debts anyway.

    They can impeach him, of course, but we already know the Senate will never convict, and meanwhile the impeachment hearings will give the Republicans even yet still more opportunities to act like total assholes in front of a huge national audience. The problem is that they aren’t just damaging their own party, they’re damaging the institutional authority of the House of Representatives.

  3. Stephen Stralka, what they are doing is setting up a conflict between two laws. The first is the Constitution which says the Federal government shall pay its bondholders regardless, and the second is the set of laws that set up various programs like Medicaid, Social Security, etc., which says that the Federal Government shall pay those bills, period. And finally there is the debt limit law, that says he can’t issue bonds to pay all those bills because he’s reached the debt limit. If he issues bonds, he’s breaking that law (plus will likely have to pay higher interest on the bonds to sell them, since they may be ruled illegal and thus worthless).

    If he does any of those things, the Republicans think, they will be able to impeach him. Why they think that will get them anything more than impeaching Clinton, I don’t know. But hey, if they were smart, they wouldn’t be Republicans :}.

  4. The traitorous and treasonous Republican terrorists, especially the ones in the House, are holding the American economy hostage, and are demanding that the nation be forced to accept the agenda items that Romney and Ryan ran on and lost, and delay or repeal PPACA, or they’ll shoot the economy.
    They have two bullets they can fire:
    The first, is to shut down the government.
    And the second, is to not raise the debt ceiling – to pay for what they’ve already agreed to spend – and possibly both ruin the full faith and credit of the United States, and set of a chain reaction which may lead to another major world-wide Recession, or even a Depression.

    The President and Congressional Democrats must hold firm, or else, they are giving in to a blatant and unprecedented power-play by traitorous and treasonous Republican terrorists.
    These traitorous and treasonous Republican terrorists must be taught that ‘elections should have consequences,’ and that ‘negotiating with terrorists’ is NOT in any way a policy option.
    To give in to the traitorous and treasonous Republican terrorists will only embolden them.
    Their next demands, may very well be that we repeal any progress made since 1850.

  5. I wish President Obama would start talking up the economy and how the teabillies are getting ready to fuck it up with the govt. shutdown and threat of default? I just looked at my 401k and it is cooking right along this has been a great year for investments; I wish he would get on an aggressive offensive footing and stick it right up the teatards you know what!

  6. Great (and frightening) article on Ted Cruz, The Distinguished Wacko-Bird from Texas:

    “…We’re in a moment when the combination of being hard-core and intelligent is really at a premium,” says National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru, who’s been friends with Cruz since they went to Princeton together. “Because the two things that conservatives are tired of are politicians who sell out and politicians who embarrass them by not being able to make an account of themselves.” In this arithmetic, Mitt Romney is the sellout and Sarah Palin is the embarrassment—and Cruz is the great new hope who brings the virtues of both without the liabilities of either…

  7. “The power to destroy a thing is the absolute control over it. ”

    Frank Herbert in ‘Dune’

    This is the mantra of the Tea Party. I think they know their popularity has peaked. For the Tea Party to achieve anything in DC requires exerting power as the minority of the minority. The Tea Party Caucus has only 66 members – The US House 435 members – Democrats control the Senate and WH. Yet 15 percent of the House membership is calling the tune to which we all dance. How can such a small tail wag such a big dog?

    The demands of the GOP have been likened to extortion -correctly in my view. But there is extortion that they use to manipulate the entire House leadership. (This is just my opinion.) The Tea Party controls the party – even ‘pros’ who see the potential destruction to the GOP brand and the country by threatening to destroy the GOP party with a split. IMO, this is the threat that keeps Boehner and McConnell in line. If the Tea Party breaks withe the GOP, it will be the end of power for the GOP. Such a split would weaken, even cripple the Tea Party, but as long as the GOP is convinced that the TP is crazy enough to do it, the Tea Party owns the GOP.

    ‘Please, proceed…’

    Is this the strategy of the next few weeks? Democrats and political addicts have seen the crazy develop. Moderates haven’t fully rejected the TP – yet. Getting the ugliness in full view of the disinterested moderate voter hasn’t been easy. The crazy ducks in and out of cover with skill, but on this one, if Democrats refuse to negotiate, (I know – ‘if’ is a sticky word) then the crazy has to go into full retreat (not their style) or hang it all out like a streaker at a baseball game for all the fans to see.

    This will take some doing – to deliberately DO NOTHING and wait the events out, draw the tea party out in the open and let everyone get a good look.

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