Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
Like John Malkovich in the movie Red, the House Republicans have `a bomb strapped to their chest’ theatening to blow up the U.S. and world economy if Democrats do not surrender to their extortionary hostage demands:
Republican outrage continues over this quote from White House communications director Dan Pfeiffer to CNN’s Jake Tapper:
The White House “is for cutting spending. We’re for reforming our tax code, for reforming entitlements,” said senior White House adviser Dan Pfeiffer.
“What we’re not for is negotiating with people with a bomb strapped to their chest,” he added.
Republicans claim this constitutes comparing them to terrorists.
And rightly so. It is time to call a spade a spade and to drop all this PC Cops poliitcally correct crap where we are required to treat the truly insane and outrageous as reasonable and acceptable. It is not.
The GOP's governing-by-extortion is way outside the norms of what is acceptable and reasonable in American politics. See James Fallows at The Atlantic, Your False-Equivalence Guide to the Days Ahead: "As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a 'standoff,' a 'showdown,' a 'failure of leadership,' a sign of 'partisan gridlock,' or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism and an inability to see or describe what is going on." So I beg to differ with Steve Benen and Greg Sargent, whom I respect, on this PC Cops style point.
The GOP outrage about Pfeiffer’s quote — even if somewhat warranted, and let’s face it, expressing [faux] outrage about such stuff is standard currency in [the conservative media entertainment complex] – gets to a core contradiction, and a core truth, about this whole situation, both of which many observers are refusing to reckon with.
The contradiction is this: Republicans insist they’re not actually threatening default — the comparison to terrorism is outrageous — even as they are insisting that the possibility of a debt ceiling breach gives them leverage to demand concessions in exchange for raising it. For instance, John Boehner has flatly stated that Republicans won’t allow default because: “I’m not going to risk the full faith and credit of the federal government.” And yet, Boehner is asking for a comical list of concessions in exchange for doing what he himself says must happen.
Confronted with this contradiction, GOP sympathizers tend to murmur that the debt ceiling is an appropriate place to negotiate over the budget. Of course, Republicans are asking for a lot more than spending cuts – an Obamacare delay, the rollback of financial regulations, etc. — in exchange for a debt limit hike. But beyond this, Republicans can’t tell you why it is we’re supposed to reward them for raising the debt limit. And that’s because raising the debt limit is not a concession on their part. It doesn’t amount to giving up more in spending; it merely allows payments of debts already incurred. They themselves say it must happen. They themselves say they are not threatening default — that they want to avert it. So why should they get anything in return for averting it, then?
Which is it? Do Dems have to give Republicans something in exchange for not allowing economic havoc to break out, and if so, why isn’t that threatening extensive harm to the country, and to all of us, in order to get your way? Or are Republicans of course going to raise the debt limit in the end, because of course they know it’s the right thing to do, and if so, why do Dems have to give them anything in exchange for it?
The second argument made by Republican sympathizers is that, okay, Republicans will raise the debt limit in the end, but they don’t want to, so it’s still a concession on their part. But why don’t they want to raise it, if they know it must happen to avert economic disaster? The only conceivable answer is that staking out a posture of reluctance to raise it gives them leverage to extract concessions.
This gets to the core truth about this debate: As long as it’s an open question whether Republicans are prepared to allow default, the claim that Republicans are threatening to do extensive harm to the country in order to extort concessions from Dems that a radical faction of their party is demanding is 100 percent right.
On the other hand, if it is not an open question that Republicans are prepared to allow default — that in the end, John Boehner will definitely raise the debt limit with support from Democrats when it comes down to it, because he knows it must happen — then why are we even having this discussion at all?
The GOP position on the debt limit is comically untenable, but a lot of observers have politely pretended not to notice the glaring contradiction at the heart of it. And so, Republicans can express outrage about the “bomb” analogy safe in the knowledge that they will not be pressed to clarify whether they are or aren’t threatening harm to the country to get their way.
A related matter is this idiotic GOP talking point, "How can Obama be willing to negotiate with Vladimir Putin but not with John Boehner?" (Hint: Because Putin is not threatening to blow up the U.S. and world economy; House Tea-Publican economic terrorists are.) Ezra Klein explains, The GOP asks why Obama will negotiate with Putin and not with them. Here’s why.
Imagine that Putin stepped forward tomorrow morning and announced that Russia had developed a computer virus that would shut down the market for U.S. Treasuries and that he would release that virus unless Obama agreed to a list of Russian demands.
No one would say Russia was asking for negotiations with Obama. They would say Russia was holding the U.S. economy hostage and demanding that Obama pay a ransom. No Republican -- and no Democrat -- would advice Obama to take that meeting. The sole question would be prevention and, if necessary, reprisal.
This is the core disagreement between the White House and the Republican Party. The Republican Party thinks it's offering the White House something it wants — the continued creditworthiness of the United States of America — in return for things the GOP wants, like a one-year delay on Obamacare.
But the White House doesn't see an increase in the debt limit as something that the Republicans are giving them. As Obama put it in his news conference: "Paying America's bills is not a concession to me. That's not doing me a favor."
If the Republicans just wanted negotiations, the Obama administration would be happy to oblige them. The White House, after all, has repeatedly said they're willing to negotiate with the Republicans over the deficit, over jobs, over sequestration, and much else. Republicans haven't been interested in those kinds of negotiations for some time. Indeed, after the fiscal cliff, Speaker John Boehner told Republicans that he was finished negotiating directly with Obama.
The reason Republicans aren't interested in those negotiations is they don't want to give anything up to get the things they want. That's why they like negotiating over the debt ceiling: Since they also don't want the the U.S. to lose its creditworthiness and fall back into financial crisis, raising the debt ceiling is not actually giving anything up. It's releasing a hostage they never wanted to shoot.
The GOP argues the fact that they don't want to vote to raise the debt ceiling makes it a concession to the White House. The White House disagrees. But that -- and not negotiations in general -- is the core issue. If Putin came to Obama with anything akin to the GOP's position on the debt ceiling, it would be perceived not as an opening for negotiations, but as a prelude to war.
And war is what this is: the far-right radical fringe of the Tea Party is engaged in an insurrection and rebellion against the United States government, demanding nullification not just of "ObamaCare" but nullification of the 2012 election results, and to enact their radical agenda that the American people rejected last November in exchange for not destroying the U.S. and world economy. Not since the interregnum following the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860 when seven Southern States seceded from the United States to form the Confederacy, joined by six more Southern states after the Confederacy started the American Civil War, has this country seen anything remotely resembling this.