The GOP, as Greg Sargent -- and Newt Gingrich -- both know, will wind up taking all the blame for Cliff 2 if the debt ceiling isn't raised. And, as a reminder, the tea partyers in the House have made it clear they want nothing to do with a new, higher, debt ceiling.
Here's Gingrich on MSNBC this morning, quoted by Sargent:
“They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy. Everybody’s now talking about, ‘Oh, here comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end, you know it’s gonna happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington and on television, and say: ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys will be held responsible.’ And they’ll cave.” ...Greg Sargent, WaPo
Meanwhile the President, with whom the House -- in the form of its Speaker -- will no longer "negotiate," is waiting, blameless, in the White House. He's done his job. If they don't want to negotiate, they're on their own. Now it's up to the House, alone, to come up with a debt ceiling.
... So maybe the question of what “not negotiating” on the debt ceiling looks like has a simpler answer than you might think: The White House just treats this as Congress’ problem. You can see that framing already in this comment from the White House today (emphasis mine): ”It is quite clear that the economy will be better if Congress does its job and does what it routinely has done historically which is raise the debt limit without problem.”...Greg Sargent,WaPo
Smart move. The whole deal is now about the House GOP. Of course, the GOP really want the President in there, not to negotiate but to be the fall guy if things go badly. But now they're left on their own with an even bigger foe. Guess who!
Are Republicans really prepared to let the country go into default and take the blame for crashing the economy? Sure, maybe some Tea Party Republicans are, but if GOP leaders aren’t, and the next compromise can be passed through the House with mostly Democratic votes, then all of a sudden the GOP position doesn’t look so strong, after all. ...Greg Sargent, WaPo
There it is. Far the worst and scariest enemy for the GOP isn't the President. It's the tea party. It's the guys -- you could say "the cancer" -- inside the GOP. They're on the verge of bringing down their host party because it serves their egos and they have nothing to lose. Quite apart from the tea partyers saying in 2010, kind of ominously, that they didn't care if they weren't reelected, we've had plenty of evidence that they're willing to, um, go for broke. And they mean broke! The Republican party! The whole nation!
I think both Democratic and Republican politicians caught onto this long ago. But it's only lately that Republicans are facingthe reality that they will have to pay a steep price for the votes the tea party gave them. They realize that their extremists are about to do the worst damage within their own host.
And right now, far from criticizing President Obama for giving away too much, we on the left should watch him playing this hand. I think Greg Sargent probably has that exactly right.
I understand the pessimism on the left that the White House will ultimately give away too much. But things seem to be shifting: Now even prominent Republicans are giving away the game, admitting that the GOP doesn’t have the leverage here that it claims to have.
This is on Congress. If Republicans are willing to force a choice between destroying the economy and gutting popular social programs, let them wallow in that winning message. If they’re willing to tank the economy to get what they want — after taking a shellacking in the election and proving so dysfunctional that they could not pass tax cuts for everyone but the ultra-wealthy without substantial Democratic help — then it’s on them. Just leave it there. ...Greg Sargent, WaPo
Don't feel too sorry for the GOP. They've been asking for this mess for at least 15 years.