The Learning Curve

New tricks for an old dog.

Crassly political

Today Sam Stein described Sen. Mitch McConnell’s debt ceiling strategy as being crassly political. Sen.  McConnell knows that the debt ceiling must be raised to avoid an economic disaster, but he wishes President Obama and the Democratic members of Congress to take sole responsibility for the deed, in the public’s eyes.

And, as he recognized the inevitability of raising the debt ceiling, Sen. McConnell also knows the 2011 Federal budget expires on September 30, 2011, and the fight over the 2012 budget is to begin very soon. Virtual government gridlock is guaranteed at least until the 2112 election results are in.

The game is wholly lacking in substance. It is a game of smoke and mirrors played to generate the most politically damaging votes for use in 2012.  The Democrats are to be unjustly blamed for what the Republicans lacked the guts to take responsibility.  It is a political illusion intentionally  aimed to produce voter misperception.

But, the opposite side of the coin shows the Republicans backing down from the heated rhetoric that was recently demanding  no debt ceiling increase without significant budget cuts.  It counts as a swerve and a blink by the Republicans in this senseless game of chicken.  The Tea Party activists will not be fooled by the maneuver and that wing of the Republican Party will view the development as a betrayal. The Tea Party tends to view anything short of their absolutists demands as a betrayal.

The core Democratic constituencies will not be dismayed in the least by the development, it being just another debt ceiling increase but with more noise than usual.  A straight up or down vote on a clean debt ceiling increase would accomplish the same net effect, but without all the bad precedent set for the Constitutional balance of powers.

The whole thing has been crassly political, and unnecessarily so. Annual budget wars these days, with the threat of a government shutdown, are about as much fun as a normal person should ever want.

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Written by Tom Fox

07/13/2011 at 2:17 pm

Posted in Politics

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