By late yesterday, the political world seemed to be feeling optimistic about the debt ceiling again. The Gang of Six had made a lot of senators happy; President Obama seemed upbeat causing a sudden spike on Wall Street; and the House was wrapping up work on a pointless vanity project, clearing the way for real work. Maybe, folks thought, we’ll avoid that catastrophe after all.
This afternoon, that optimism is evaporating again.
On Monday, Rep. Joe Walsh, a radical GOP freshman, began circulating a letter among his House Republican colleagues drawing a line in the sand: they won’t accept the McConnell/Reid plan. Period. Full stop.
Let’s do a little arithmetic. It will take 217 votes to pass a bill in the House right now (it would ordinarily be 218, but there are a couple of vacancies). There are 240 House Republicans. If 80 GOPers refuse to even consider the McConnell/Reid compromise, Plan B would need 57 House Democrats. That’s a pretty large number for a center-right agreement that includes zero new revenue.
If Walsh succeeds and the Suicide Squad reaches the 100-signature goal, Plan B would need 77 House Democratic votes for a bill Dems really aren’t going to like.
What about the Gang of Six plan? Even if it could be crafted and passed in the Senate quickly — I suspect that’s literally not possible — a growing number of House Republican leaders are concluding it’s just not right-wing enough to pass the lower chamber.
So, where does that leave us? The House won’t pass a clean bill; it won’t pass a Grand Bargain; it won’t pass the Gang of Six proposal; and at least 80 House Republicans are prepared to try to kill the Plan B compromise.
And the clock runs out in just 13 days.
Maybe someone can talk some sense into the Suicide Squad. Maybe there will be a temporary extension (there are some whispers to that effect coming out of the White House today). Maybe President Obama will give that “Constitutional Option” a second look after all.
But at this point, if you’re not nervous, you’re not paying attention.
Sorry Steve, but I’ve been paying attention and I’m not nervous. The sky isn’t falling and the world isn’t going to end.
What we’re seeing right now is kabuki poker. Barack Obama had this silly idea that he could maneuver the GOP into shutting down government the way Newt Gingrinch did in 1995 – which helped spark Bill Clinton’s resurgence.
But these GOPers aren’t bitten by the hubris bug, and Obama ain’t the Big Dawg. Them Republicans are some pretty smart fellas, despite what the media keeps trying to tell us. They got their game on and they’re playing to win – but “winning” for them does not include destroying our country. (They gotta live here too.)
Let me be clear – I don’t agree with the goals of the Republicans. But then I don’t agree with Dick and the Dickocrats either.
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