The Republican leadership has fallen flat on its face.
Speaker John A. Boehner’s effort to pass fallback legislation to avert a fiscal crisis in less than two weeks collapsed Thursday night in an embarrassing defeat after conservative Republicans refused to support legislation that would allow taxes to rise on the most affluent households in the country. ...NYT
And not for the first time.
The first episode ran in 2011, as President Obama made his first attempt to cut a long-run fiscal deal — a so-called Grand Bargain — with John Boehner, the speaker of the House. Mr. Obama was holding a fairly weak hand, after a midterm election in which Democrats took a beating. Nonetheless, the concessions he offered were breathtaking: He was willing to accept huge spending cuts, not to mention a rise in the Medicare eligibility age, in return for a vague promise of higher revenue without any increase in tax rates.
This deal, if implemented, would have been a huge victory for Republicans, deeply damaging both programs dear to Democrats and the Democratic political brand. But it never happened. Why? Because Mr. Boehner and members of his party couldn’t bring themselves to accept even a modest rise in taxes. And their intransigence saved Mr. Obama from himself. ...Paul Krugman
Of course, President Obama's political strength, this time around, won the round. For anyone who watched the 2012 election closely, it should have been obvious to Republicans that this was no time to play games. They blundered through the election in a fantasy. It's clear that not even Obama's solid win managed to wake them up. As Paul Krugman points out, they continue to be unable to deal with facts.
I’ve become aware of a new effort by the G.O.P. to bully reporters into referring only to the “Bush-era” tax cuts, probably in the hope of dissociating those cuts, which they want to preserve, from a president voters now regard with disdain. But George W. Bush and his administration devised those cuts and rammed them through Congress, and it’s deceptive to suggest otherwise. ...Krugman
Still, it's not time for Democrats to sing happy songs over the near-suicide of their opposition. Some beers, some cheering, a happy Christmas maybe. But it's not over.
If we’re going to get a grip on our nation’s problems — of which the budget deficit is a minor part — the power of the G.O.P.’s extremists, and their willingness to hold the economy hostage if they don’t get their way, needs to be broken. And somehow I don’t think that’s going to happen in the next few days. ...Krugman
The Dow is headed sharply down early this morning
U.S. stock futures pointed to a sharply lower open on Friday, ahead of the release of U.S. data as concerns U.S. budget negociations have stalled dampened investor confidence.
Ahead of the open, the Dow Jones Industrial Average futures pointed to a 1.33% drop, S&P 500 futures signaled a 1.43% decline, while the Nasdaq 100 futures indicated a 1.40% loss. ...Investing.com
Democrats could save the day here. But Republicans won't play.
... The collapse of Plan B set a new low in Boehner’s sometimes rocky relationship with a House Republican caucus that has long been uneasy about the speaker’s dealmaking with Obama.
Following the latest breakdown in negotiations, Democrats said Boehner should return to the bargaining table with Obama — or just let House Democrats and 25 or so Republicans vote for a Senate-approved plan to extend tax cuts for the middle class. But Republicans said the well has been so poisoned that restarting bipartisan talks would be more difficult than ever. ...WaPo
They should know. They poisoned the well.
For sure, House Republicans did it to themselves. And, of course, to the rest of us. Meanwhile, we need to remind ourselves that John Boehner isn't the whole problem. He's just a symptom. Jonathan Bernstein writes in the Post:
I’ve seen some speculation that Boehner could be in danger of losing his job over this. In the long run, that may be true, but in the short run, the problems here have nothing to do with Boehner in particular. Any new speaker would be faced with exactly the same dilemma: Too many House Republicans won’t accept the reality of the deal they will eventually have to accept. ...I won’t predict the next step, but other than everyone having good fun at the expense of the House Republican leadership — and no question, Boehner and the rest deserve it — it’s just not clear that tonight’s fiasco will change anything. ...Jonathan Bernstein