Ten Miles Square


December 28, 2012 10:57 PM Hoyer, McConnell, and Hostage-taking

By Mark Kleiman

The usual suspects are pretending to have their fee-fees hurt because Steny Hoyer compared the Republican debt-ceiling threats to hostage-taking. Two things to note here:

1. It was Mitch McConnell who originally made he comparison. The difference is that Hoyer disapproves of hostage-taking, while McConnell was bragging about it. As far as I can find, no wingnut complained about McConnell’s boast that the full faith and credit of the United States was “a hostage worth ransoming.”

2. If the GOP doesn’t want to be accused of extortionate tactics, perhaps it could consider not practicing extortion. And yes, I count threatening the nation’s credit and the national honor by forcing the federal government to default on obligations undertaken according to law as extortion. What do you call it?

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Mark Kleiman is a professor of public policy at the University of California Los Angeles.


  • emily on December 29, 2012 4:02 AM:

    In all fairness, McConnell didn't make his remarks right after a horrific school shooting. You have to admit, Hoyer talking about shooting a child is not good optics, even if he was speaking metaphorically.

  • sjw on December 29, 2012 9:11 AM:

    I call it treason.

  • boatboy_srq on December 31, 2012 9:21 AM:

    @emily: what part of "one-term President" - or "hostage worth ransoming" - constitutes "good optics" to you? The timing of McConnell's comments is an accident, nothing more (a happy accident for him given Newtown, but an accident nonetheless).

    And how many kids/disabled/elderly will McConnell's preferred budget solution starve or freeze if enacted in time for this winter? Shooting them might be kinder.

    There's no fairness in the GOTea platform, intentions or rhetoric. And while we might wish that there was more if from the Dems, whinging about the poor timing of one Dem statesman doesn't change the nature of the GOTea approach.

    You're welcome to complain about the inconvenient juxtaposition of Democratic observations on the "opposition's" methods and of unpleasant national/world affairs at whatever point the GOTea stops actively trying to neuter the federal government. Until then, though, maybe we should work on getting the political saboteurs out of Congress, and worry less about the convenience (or lack thereof) of current events when discussing the observations of folks who agree with us.