I have several blog posts urging John Boehner to stand firm on the budget and leave the government shut down indefinitely, if he has to. But the debt ceiling is a different matter. Here Republicans could be playing with fire.
I just read a story on McClatchy that John Boehner said he will not pass a bill to re-open the government or to raise the debt ceiling until Obama agrees to negotiate. Oh, oh. I’ve been worried about Boehner all this time, and I wonder if this could be the deal he has worked out with Obama and Reid.
Charles Krauthammer has been urging for a while now that the Republicans take their stand on the debt ceiling, not on the budget. Here’s what he said on Friday’s All Star Panel on Special Report (look for Mr. Krauthammer’s comments at about the 5-minute mark):
“There’s a danger here for the President. He’s approaching the peak of the sine curve. He benefits because of the shutdown. But every day that we approach the debt limit, which would be fatal for the President, the winning part of this diminishes. . . . and I think he will absolutely have to negotiate.”
His reasoning is that failing to raise the debt ceiling would cause serious economic damage to the country. Obama, who does not want his legacy damaged by a failing economy, would therefore come to the negotiating table. Oh, what fantasy-world do these people live in? We have Rahm Immanuel’s famous statement at the opening of the Obama Administration, “A crisis is a terrible thing to waste.” George Will, on the same panel, suggested that Obama’s emblematic statement for his second term could well be “A crisis is a beautiful thing to create.” This grown-up rabble-rouser who is now our president – is there anything in his actions to date to suggest that he puts the welfare of the country ahead of the welfare of his ideology? But yet these inside-the-beltway types still cannot come to grips with that. If he could bring the country to economic catastrophe and blame it on the Republicans, how great would that be? He could justify grabbing even more power.
But we have another thing cooking here, getting ready to be served, and we don’t have to really dig to find it. Nancy Pelosi and other congressional Democrats have been saying it. There was an op-ed in last Monday’s New York Times openly advocating it. This op-ed, by Henry Aaron, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institute, was urging Obama to ignore the debt ceiling. Here’s the plan. Republicans fail to raise the debt ceiling. Obama, and a bunch of other leaders and academics declare that it is time the President has to step in and rescue the country, seizing for himself the power to borrow money without congressional approval. Illegal? Yes. An impeachable offense? Yes. But will he get away with it? Of course. Mark Levin has been warning about this.
This feels like a game of chess in which your opponent sacrifices his queen to sucker you into a move, and his next move is checkmate. And it looks, sadly, like Boehner is leading us right into it.
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