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July 22, 2011 8:50 AM Winning half the battle isn’t good enough

By Steve Benen

As rumors about the so-called “Grand Bargain” caused an uproar yesterday, I received an interesting email from a regular reader:

“Why would Obama snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? He was winning! Don’t throw in the towel when the other guy is on the ropes.”

Nate Silver had an item around the same time that struck a similar point (translated slightly from Twitterese):

“I feel like Obama is in a reverse-gravity underwear gnomes meme. (1) Win the public relations battle on the debt ceiling. (2) ???. (3) Capitulate.”

There’s obviously something to this. After months of head-spinning, soul-crushing debate, Democrats had the upper hand in the debt-ceiling fight. Americans are siding with Dems on raising the debt limit, seeking new revenue, and raising taxes on the wealthy. Republicans, meanwhile, are seen as unwilling to compromise, which happens to be true.

If a crisis unfolds, it would be the GOP that gets the blame, a point that’s not lost on the Republican leadership, most notably Mitch McConnell. The result is an unpopular party that’s isolated, divided, and viewed as needlessly extreme.

And President Obama is going to give in to these guys?

But it’s worth appreciating the fact that Obama only won half the battle, and in the larger context, it’s the half that doesn’t matter as much. The White House line — Congress has to do the right thing, and must adopt a responsible, balanced approach — won the day politically. But on Aug. 2, the United States will have exhausted its ability to pay its bills. Winning the public-relations fight is encouraging, but from Obama’s perspective, it doesn’t remove the looming threat that’s just 11 days away.

Part of the problem is that Republicans are losing the political fight, but don’t seem to care. It’s not as if the GOP’s Suicide Squad was starting to show signs of fatigue, and/or hinting at a willingness to give in. On the contrary, Republicans, especially in the House, are doing the opposite — digging in their heels, welcoming default, and rejecting calls to compromise.

Winning a public-relations battle is nice, but the president wants to avoid a catastrophe in less than two weeks. That means finding a solution and negotiating with a radicalized Republican Party that certainly seems willing to crash the economy on purpose.

That’s not to say Obama has been negotiating well. Indeed, if the reports are accurate, the president’s willingness to accept concessions goes way too far.

But some seem to have the impression that Obama can win the p.r. fight, use that as leverage, and wait for the GOP to fold. There’s no reason to think Republicans are or will be willing to fold, which makes some kind of compromise necessary.

This kind of compromise? I sure as hell hope not. But some kind of compromise.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

Comments

  • SW on July 22, 2011 8:57 AM:

    That attitude is precisely why he will never win a negotiation with these people. They have his number. He is like a general who is casualty averse. He is in the wrong business.

  • Lance on July 22, 2011 8:59 AM:

    Steve, if there is no tax deal in the grand bargin, then the tax deal is the Bush tax cut auto-repeal in 2013.

    That's what we want, when we want it.

    And yes, my tax rate would go to 28%. So I need to negotiate 3% higher raise?

  • c u n d gulag on July 22, 2011 9:04 AM:

    The don't care about disaster, we do.

    So they have the upper hand.

    If someone doesn't give a shit if they jump off a cliff or not, they don't care if they take you with them.

    And, if you're willing to give them anything they want, well, they can take it, spend it, and jump off the fucking cliff later - and still take you with them.

    Obama's still got the 14th Amendment!

    But he won't use it.
    He wants to be known as "The Great Bipartisan Compromiser."
    He may end up being remembered as "The Great Capitulator."

    OY!

    Ok, I'll shut up now. I'm going to hold off until more details come out.

  • Jon on July 22, 2011 9:05 AM:

    Wouldn't it be easier to find 30 House Republicans to vote with the Democrats, then to find 216 House Republicans who will vote sanely?

  • Dricey on July 22, 2011 9:06 AM:

    Obama doesn't seem to comprehend the fact that if he validates the Tea Party's use of Suicide Squad tactics on the debt ceiling, he only insures that those tactics will be used again. It takes no subtlety to foresee the GOP threatening to crash the country repeatedly, and Obama caving in to them, until everything this side of 1860 has been erased from the books.

    Obama's great weakness is that he's dedicated, above and beyond all else, to keeping the government running, even if only in eviscerated form. The GOP's great strength is that they don't want the government running period unless it's running their way, with them in charge. Obama could end the madness by letting them have their way and giving a nation that gets its news from Dancing With the Stars a taste of what you lose when you lose government. But he won't do that.

  • SteveT on July 22, 2011 9:07 AM:

    Winning a public-relations battle is nice, but the president wants to avoid a catastrophe in less than two weeks.

    So he's going to "win" by agreeing to cause a catastrophe in two months? When the proposed budget cuts kick in, the unemployment rate will be driven up above ten percent and Obama will be a one-term president.

    As bad as it would be, I'm beginning to think that the damage when the Republicans cause a default would be preferable to damage caused by a "grand bargain". A default should discredit the Republicans and demonstrate for voters what buffoons they are.

    But then Obama probably would just help the Republicans get up from the canvas again.

  • Sinister eyebrow on July 22, 2011 9:07 AM:

    I would think that Obama went in thinking that if he won the PR battle, the Republicans would agree to raise the debt ceiling and avoid a calamity. However, he and the rest of us now see that the Republicans didn't care about the PR battle, they are willing to crash the economy whether they get blamed or not because many of them have no grasp on reality. As Barney Frank said last night, they are the caucus of the invincibly ignorant.

    Given that, Obama is now stuck weighing capitulation vs. inflicting years of needless suffering and financial disaster on millions and millions of families, seniors, and just about every other resident of the US. Granted, capitulation would be economically disastrous (taking huge amounts of $ out of the economy during a flatlined recovery would create a financial hole that will take years to climb out of), but winning the game of chicken would be utterly catastrophic--financial ruin for the entire nation.

    What choice would anyone who gave a shit, or even had the tiniest bit of compassion for his fellow Americans make when faced with that?

  • foosion on July 22, 2011 9:07 AM:

    Of course the Republicans care about disaster, their base is corporations and the like who have a major stake in avoiding catastrophe. That group would likely be hurt worse by default than the rest of us. They're pretending not to care as a negotiating ploy.

    Obama, by repeatedly showing weakness, is just encouraging them. A stronger leader wouldn't be in this position.

  • delNorte on July 22, 2011 9:08 AM:

    As noted last evening: The Democratic-led Senate will be working through the weekend. The Republican-led House will take the weekend off.

    Apparently this isn't an urgent or pressing issue to House Republicans. I guess they have some brush to clear back at the ranch, or plans to hike the Appalachian Trail this weekend.

    Hopefully these rumors of capitulation will light a fire under people - and maybe that's the intended purpose (God only knows...). It's probably time to start watching the markets, too - they might be calm now, but it's like the card game Spoons - all the players are watching each other, and when the first one grabs a spoon (or some computer farts), it'll be katy-bar-the-door time.

  • Kim on July 22, 2011 9:09 AM:

    There must be some actual tax increases in the deal. It is absurd to expect the Dems to accept a deal with essentially all spending cuts and at best, promises of future tax hikes down the road. We all know that 'down the road' legislating never works in Congress. The last time it was used was Bush's promise that his grand tax cuts would expire in 10 years, and of course, that was fantasy.

    There's negotiating and there's total capitulation. Once again, the pressure is on the Dems to be the reasonable party to save the country from the Tea Party idiots. This time, I hope that the Dems say 'no deal' until we get a balanced deal.

  • DAY on July 22, 2011 9:14 AM:

    Until someone gives me a legitimate reason for Obama's negotiating stance ("He's turrble! Out of his league! doesn't know what he is doing!"), I will withhold judgement on what he is up to.

    Please also consider that he is NOT negotiating alone- he is the quarterback of a seasoned and skilled team of politicians.

  • bob h on July 22, 2011 9:14 AM:

    It is a measure of how ridiculous the House Republicans have become that Saxby Chambliss and Tom Coburn now seem like august voices of reasonableness, common sense, and equanimity.

  • kevo on July 22, 2011 9:14 AM:

    If what the talking heads
    have saturated us with
    over the past three weeks
    is any measure of being true,

    I believe President Obama
    has lost his way! -Kevo

  • bignose on July 22, 2011 9:16 AM:

    "...the president’s willingness to accept concessions goes way too far."

    I can only hope that he is pursuing this so he can show the country on 7/2 that he tried, but that must now regrettably save the country from itself and raise the debt ceiling unilaterally.

    Indeed, he and the Dems have put forth concession after concession with no agreement - It's almost like they re mocking the GOP, daring them to agree with the Dems on anything...anything at all.


  • Mimikatz on July 22, 2011 9:16 AM:

    If Obama asks Seniors to sacrifice and raises the Medicare age for near-retirees and Medicaid recipients to sacrifice and asks nothing of the rich then that is not only manifestly unfair it is unAmerican. I'm afraid it will break the Democratic Party if he does that.

    It sounds like the revenue enhancers are to let the Bush tax cuts expire without askingnthe GOP hardliners to actually vote for it. But whonsays at's what will happen when we get there?

  • foosion on July 22, 2011 9:18 AM:

    @Day - he had a seasoned and skilled team of economists who told him to go big on the stimulus. He ignored them and most are now gone.

    He's already badly damaged two key American principles, counter-cyclical fiscal policy (stimulus in bad time, revenues in good) by adopting Republican framing and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by putting them on the table.

  • Unstable Isotope on July 22, 2011 9:21 AM:

    The details of the deal sound terrible. I still trust Obama and I think he has the advantage on his side. I imagine that this deal is not even enouh for the GOP Suicide Squad.

    Personally I think we'll end up getting a middle of the night voice vote to raise the ceiling. I can't believe we're going to spend another week talking about this completely self-inflicted crisis.

  • Stetson Kennedy on July 22, 2011 9:22 AM:

    Obama does have options in the likely event that the GOP will not pass any debt limit legislation - he can cite the 14th ammendment and order the treasury to ignore the debt limit altogether.

    Then turn the GOP's tricks against them. Assert that he will veto any tax legislation extending the Bush tax cuts for the richest Americans, and call for Congress to extend the tax cuts for middle class Americans. The GOP then has the option of raising taxes on the rich, or raising taxes for everyone. And no negotiating.

  • jdb on July 22, 2011 9:22 AM:

    Steve - The back-seat driving is getting out of control. Nate Silver is one of the worst. He is an expert in statistics, not politics. He is qualified to run a trillion simulations of polls to come up with political predictions that are surprisingly accurate - but that doesn't qualify him to analyze what is going on right now between Obama and everyone else. Even if he did have all of the necessary information, he probably wouldn't quite comprehend it. His tweet was silly, about as sophisticated as the analysis we get on Fox News.
    I think we need to quit thinking about this in terms of a battle - winning/losing/blinking/capitulating etc. I personally am going to trust that Obama will get it right - that whatever cuts there are will be handled with care, and that at some point in the next few years, the wealthy will be kicking in more money. Let's just get on with it.

  • Grumpy on July 22, 2011 9:22 AM:

    ...Democrats had the upper hand in the debt-ceiling fight.

    If Dems really had the upper hand, there wouldn't be a fight and the debt ceiling would be raised in five minutes, as you've said.

    Jon: "Wouldn't it be easier to find 30 House Republicans to vote with the Democrats...?"

    Good question. What do we know about Pelosi's efforts to whip up GOP votes? Is she even trying?

  • SW on July 22, 2011 9:22 AM:

    How can I get into a poker game with this guy?

  • Josef K on July 22, 2011 9:24 AM:

    Yes, like it or not, President Obama is the sort who will negotiate to his opponent's benefit. In this case, however, he may have no choice but to do so as the stakes are significantly higher than most appreciate.

    Let me repeat that: he has no choice but to get the Republicans, somehow, to agree to raise the debt ceiling. If that doesn't happen, August 3rd might well see the start of a cascading economic downturn that would encompass the globe, the consequences of which are likely to be profoundly negative for us all.

    Like it or not, the GOP always held the upper hand here as, at the end of the day, they're the only ones who can prevent said downturn/free-fall from happening.

    Trouble is, there's a contingent of the GOP who are either ignorant or ideologically blind enough to actually let default happen, and that contingent is hamstringing their supposed leadership to the point of paralysis. Worse, they're goal of weakening the President appears to override all other considerations, so they may actually want default and will accept no other outcomes.

    They have eleven days to finish this madness before said madness results in a global meltdown, which I suspect is part of what is driving the President to offer such extravigant concessions. At this point, however, I'm not sure if those concessions are worth it any longer.

    This may be a case where you actually have to burn the village to the ground to save it. One hopes for an outbreak of sanity, but knows how unlikely that is anymore.

  • Anon on July 22, 2011 9:25 AM:

    This grand compromise is so horrible I just have to hope it can't be true.

    If it is true, Obama hasn't just shot himself in the foot, he's blown off everything below his torso. Not only will the economy shudder to a halt and unemployment would go up heading into election year as others have pointed out, but he will be widely seen as having caved to the extremists the public was clearly aligning against. His liberal base will evaporate. Now Democrats will balk at such an egregious package and if they don't pass it, the default will be on them. If they do pass it, they'll have their own enraged base to deal with back home in an election year. He'd have hamstrung not only himself but his entire party.

    It just can't be true. It can't.

  • KurtRex1453 on July 22, 2011 9:25 AM:

    I still think he will have to use the 14th amendment. Seriously. The Republicsns will scream impeachment, but Obama will be reelected easily.

  • John B. on July 22, 2011 9:26 AM:

    It's good to see here, at long last, a more clear-eyed, somewhat less partisan take on "The Great Capitulator." (ht/cund gulag)

    Obama has capitulated to the Pharma Industry on health care, the Blue Dogs on oil drilling, the GOP on the stimulus package when it was in a minority, the GOP on Elizabeth Warren when it has a majority in only one of two houses, Wall Street and Too-Big-to-Fail Banks all the time, the NSA when it comes to torture, and the DoD on Gitmo.

    Now it looks very much like he's about to surrender to the crazy Tea Partiers who resist raising taxes on the wealthiest 2% of all Americans.

    Instead of emulating great Illinois historical figures like Lincoln and Grant, Mr. Obama seems to be modeling Gen. George McClellan, who never saw a battle he couldn't retreat from.

  • jdb on July 22, 2011 9:28 AM:

    I honestly think that 99% of the people who say that this is a horrible deal understand less than 1% of the deal itself.

  • Kane on July 22, 2011 9:37 AM:

    President Obama's op-ed in the USAToday gives me hope that he has no plans on giving away the store. I'll be watching and listening to what he has to say at today's townhall at the University of Maryland.

    Without the tea party support for raising the debt ceiling, whatever deal is struck will need the support and votes of congressional Democrats. As long as they stand firm and insist on a balanced deal, I'm confident that a fair deal can be made.


  • Jeff In Ohio on July 22, 2011 9:39 AM:

    When the hostage taker is really ready to pull the tricker, what do you do? Capitulate or die? What is the 3rd option? Is there a metaphorical equivalent of the sniper? Constitutional crisis? While I'd like to see the GOP crash the world economy and seal their fate of the party of crazy ass no nothings, I don't really feel like losing my house, seeing my CC interest go up or have my wife lose her job. What's a responsible adult to do? Am I allowed to punch out my Rep Steve Chabot for being a tool of the nihilists? Sure would make me feel better.

  • Anonymous on July 22, 2011 9:39 AM:

    Instead of emulating great Illinois historical figures like Lincoln and Grant, Mr. Obama seems to be modeling Gen. George McClellan, who never saw a battle he couldn't retreat from.

    To be fair back then we had a Republic. Today, it has been gone for some time and replaced by this crass theatre. There is a whole industry that follows it, comments on it but it is pretty much like championship wrestling. The oligarchs call the tune and the politicians fall in line. It is a global phenomena. They have decided on austerity for everyone. Cull the workforce. This is their enlightened response to resource constraints. Build higher walls and school the riff raff. Try to squeeze another generation or two out of the gravy train.

    Any politician that plays for the 'liberal' team is going to look like a sell out under these circumstances. They may even honestly ascend to power thinking that they can pursue liberal policies. Silly little people. Once you get there you realize you have no real power. You are just window dressing in the circus. Too bad the bakery is running out of bread.

  • Memory Serves on July 22, 2011 9:46 AM:

    Steve,

    Your willingness to cut Obama some slack is disappointing. My wife and I canvassed for him, worked GOTV, and contributed during the primaries. We did the same for the general election. Both of us now consider him to be a fraud, and we have vowed not to do any of that again. In fact, I'm voting straight, party line GOP in 2012. If all we're going to get is Republican policies that will kill the country, then let's see it happen quickly instead of this wimpering and death by a thousand little cuts.

    The people in Wisconsin and Ohio learned they have to take to the streets, but they learned it the hard way. It seems the message hasn't gotten to the rest of us while we look for ways to excuse spineless leadership because he's supposed to "our guy." He disses us anyway.

  • SadOldVet on July 22, 2011 9:52 AM:

    The Obomination's history, since assuming the presidency, as been that of capitulation to the repukes.

    As much as I dispise Billy Bob Clinton, I do agree that Obama should invoke the 14th Amendment.

    I would suggest that Obama:
    - address the nation about this manufactured crisis
    - tell the amerikan sheeple that never before in amerikan history has a political party used the debt ceiling as weapon
    - tell the american sheeple what various experts say will happen in a default to
    >the federal government
    >state governments
    >local governments
    >the working people of amerika
    - tell the amerikan sheeple that he will not let the teabaggers, the repuke party, and their billionaire funders destroy the country
    - that he is invoking the 14th Amendment to prevent the destruction of our country

    And defy the corporately owned supremes to even consider destroying the country to give the repukes a political victory.

    And defy the repukes to even attempt to impeach him!

    Obama has the stones to put social security, medicare, and the social safety nets on the table; too bad he does not have the stones to take on the hostage takers!

  • Kane on July 22, 2011 10:02 AM:

    Simply consider the current position Republican­s are in. Do nothing and allow the country to default on its debt, and you'll be held responsbil­­e for the damage that ensues. Oppose President Obama's grand proposal of $4 trillion in cuts and instead settle for a much smaller deal, and you'll have managed to highlight the fact that the president takes the deficit much more seriously than you do. Accept the president'­­s grand proposal, and you'll give Obama a substantia­­l victory that he can remind voters of throughout the campaign. Surrender all reponsibil­ity to President Obama and allow him to raise the debt ceiling on his own, and you'll have tea partiers declaring mutiny.

    These things didn't magically happen. They came about by Obama's brilliant skill and effectiven­ess in painting the hostage takers into a corner. To now declare that the battle is lost seems rather premature at best. Give the president some credit on this one. He's earned it.

    Consider also the debate that will unfold today: While the Senate Republicans are arguing for their ridiculous Cut, Cap and Balance plan, President Obama will be making the case for the balanced approach, further painting Republicans into the corner.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 22, 2011 10:09 AM:

    foosion has it right:

    "He's already badly damaged two key American principles, counter-cyclical fiscal policy (stimulus in bad time, revenues in good) by adopting Republican framing and Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid by putting them on the table."

    And why is nobody talking about the fact that while LOSING this tactical in spectacular fashion, Obama is losing the STRATEGIC war in spectacular fashion. Giving in to this magnitude only GUARANTEES that this will be used in the exact same way the next time this moronic debt ceiling must be raised.

    Obama is becoming a disaster. Root for the Tea-diots to blow it up and save Democrats from Obama.

  • FQMorris on July 22, 2011 10:10 AM:

    http://www.eschatonblog.com/2011/07/historic.html
    Atrios correctly points out:

    "All could be changed by a vote of the next Congress, or by the next vote of this Congress. No plans for 5 years from now can be expected to stick that long."

    So capitulation now is only a temporary tactic to avoid immediate disaster.

  • Grumpy on July 22, 2011 10:13 AM:

    Memory Serves: "In fact, I'm voting straight, party line GOP in 2012."

    Sorry you feel so disappointed. But allow me to point out that the same feeling of dissatisfaction among Republicans with Bush is partly what enabled Obama to be elected in '08 in the first place. Bush was too much of a big spender, they said, practically a liberal. So they quit. And then they re-trenched. And now here we are.

  • SadOldVet on July 22, 2011 10:18 AM:

    @ FQMorris...

    Past capitulation by the Obomination has led to more hostage taking.

    In what scenario do you perceive that more capitulation will lead to anything other than more hostage taking and more capitulation?

    I did not support and campaign for Obama because I thought that he was an angry black man, but I sure wish to hell that he would become one and stop being a wimpy white repuke in disguise.

    Or, as captcha says "next taildit"...

  • HopeNChange on July 22, 2011 10:19 AM:

    This is about the end of the line for me. I'm waiting for a fig leaf of a Democratic policy. I didn't spend money, time, effort, and energy to elect another Bush. So far, what we got was Bush policies + health care. That's not enough.

  • HopeNChange on July 22, 2011 10:21 AM:

    We need a primary challenge for Obama. WE NEED A PRIMARY CHALLENGE.

    I chose Obama over Hillary. That appears to have been a mistake. I'm now willing to go with Hillary.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 22, 2011 10:24 AM:

    Only think left to do now is join in contacting important Dems to stop Obama. Contact as many Dem Senators and Reps as you can. Tell them to stop him before it's all gone.

  • wvmcl2 on July 22, 2011 10:27 AM:

    "In fact, I'm voting straight, party line GOP in 2012. If all we're going to get is Republican policies that will kill the country, then let's see it happen quickly instead of this wimpering and death by a thousand little cuts."

    Is this an example of the "Stockholm Syndrome?"

  • Kane on July 22, 2011 10:37 AM:

    "I'm voting straight, party line GOP in 2012. If all we're going to get is Republican policies that will kill the country, then let's see it happen quickly instead of this wimpering and death by a thousand little cuts."

    I see you all over the Internet offering this same tired line. We're on to you.

  • square1 on July 22, 2011 10:40 AM:

    Really, HopeNChange? You're going with Hillary?

    There is a reason that both Obama and Hillary were the front runners: They were both political insiders who would not rock the corporate money boat.

    The chance of a primary against Obama is very small. The chance of Hillary primarying Obama is non-existent. So, if you are going to fantasize about a primary challenger, why don't you imagine a slightly bolder candidate?

  • kindness on July 22, 2011 10:46 AM:

    Screw compromise. Go with the 14th Amendment strategy.

    It's clear Republicans want to go to default. For what ever crazy idea they think that will be to their advantage. President Obama just needs to point this out, proclaim that he won't allow the good name & credit rating of the United States to be tarnished, degraded and used as a political football & that he will direct the Treasury Department to sell bonds again without any Congressional consent.

    It's a political win. The only problem is that President Obama would have to swallow his pride to do it. He obviously wants to cut those programs. Sucks to be him though.

    Time for our President to rise above his own political desires.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 22, 2011 10:47 AM:

    The chance of a primary run against Obama is next to zero. The chance of a successful primary run against Obama IS zero. The money will take care of that. The chance of a primary run against Obama resulting in a Republican President is pretty high. Do we really want a new tax cut paid for by borrowing? The Ryan plan? Privatizing Social Security? Gutting the EPA? Really?

  • Alli on July 22, 2011 11:00 AM:

    Hmmm...all these comments could have copied and pasted from the budget deal "crisis" and how exactly did that turn out? pretty much every one saying Obama was capitulating, cowering or losing had to eat crow.

    Obama learns, do any of you?

  • Anonymous on July 22, 2011 12:03 PM:

    Bill Clinton and I would...

    Forget it.

  • DisgustedWithItAll on July 22, 2011 12:24 PM:

    What would explain Senate Dems were being in an uproar, Alli?

  • CDW on July 22, 2011 12:33 PM:

    “Why would Obama snatch defeat from the jaws of victory? He was winning! Don’t throw in the towel when the other guy is on the ropes.”

    Isn't that Obama just being Obama?

  • JackD on July 22, 2011 12:42 PM:

    He's given up the 14th Amendment according to a report of his town hall meeting this morning. He says his lawyers don't think it's legal! He's a constitutional law professor! God, he's the worst negotiator. I hope the progressive caucus in the House keeps him honest.

  • Anonymous on July 22, 2011 1:47 PM:

    Ironic that the 14th is our only hope against the Tea Party.

  • AxelDC on July 22, 2011 3:41 PM:

    You miss the point: Republicans have to give in. Sure, some recalcitrant teabaggers will vote no on anything that doesn't include 100% of their demands, but by August 2nd, Wall Street will demand an increase in the debt ceiling. Every House Democrat would vote to raise the debt ceiling, so just 1/3 of Republicans have to be responsible enough to go along.

    The crisis is so absurd because a one-line piece of legislation solves it. Raise the debt limit, which has happened 72 times in the last 50 years, and the crisis is over. Fix the long term deficits in calm, rational discussions that don't involve "24" style crisis mode that is so unnecessary. Selling out the New Deal because of an artificial deadline is the worst way to run government, and goes against the wishes of over 2/3 of US voters.

  • Michael on July 22, 2011 4:06 PM:

    I agree, a lot of pathetic whiners, talking about becoming republicans and stopping obama, in fact the republican stripes are coming out from a lot of you who pretended to be democrats. Your free to leave, you blue dog types are not welcome in our party.

  • Kevin Robb on July 22, 2011 6:19 PM:

    The Republicans don't mind crashing the economy, because they are relying on the legendary cluelessness, and especially the chronic amnesia, of the American voter.

    Nobody will remember in Nov 2012 WHO crashed the economy. This may seem an astonishing statement, insulting to Americans, but look at the facts.

    Who was at the helm when the economy crashed in 2007-8? George Bush and the GOP. Who did voters punish in 2010? Barack Obama. Who, then, did they reward? The GOP.

    Americans have set themselves up for this fall.

  • Michael on July 22, 2011 8:58 PM:

    The dumbing down of america has been in plan for decades, the lying and talk show righties were doing there work, fox news channel finsihed the job, which got them elected in 2010, fooling everyone.

    Now they have thrown away the disguise, believeing they have dumbed enough, not even worried that murdoch, a huge cog in the mix, is coming under attack.

    14th amendment is the ultimate safeguard, House gop are the ultimate loons.Whats going on by the governors is the saving grace which is proving to everyone the loons they hired.

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