Saturday, January 19, 2013

Republicans Cave on Debt Celing Drama. Obama Learns How to Say NO.

At last, Obama has drawn a line in the sand and Republicans have crawled away from it.  Obama won! Let's hope this becomes a Presidential habit. Oh, Republicans are trying to save face by whining that their surrender is only for 3 months. No believes them. To quote the inestimable Rachel Maddow: "It's over."    

New York Magazine: 
It’s over. House Republicans, following a literal and metaphorical retreat, have announced they plan to lift the debt ceiling without extracting policy concessions. Whatever mini-dramas may follow, the GOP leadership has both recognized the need to abandon their strategy of using the debt ceiling as a hostage and also to recognize this publicly...
The main credit here goes to the Obama administration for recognizing that enmeshing the debt ceiling with policy negotiations was a horrible idea that it had to stop dead in its tracks. To let debt ceiling hikes become contingent on fiscal policy agreements was to set up endless future crises that would eventually trigger default when one party or another held out for a little too much.
 The whole key to making Obama’s extortion-squelching plan, and saving American government from endless cycles of hostage drama that would eventually end in a default, was to credibly insist that he would not trade anything for a debt ceiling hike. After he moved his red line on tax cuts, I doubted that Obama could really make this stick. But he has.
Now, Republicans are only voting on a three-month extension. But this is a face-saving gesture, too. Once they’ve recognized that the debt ceiling isn’t leverage, they have no reason to keep taking painful votes that expose their members to attack ads. Letting Republicans weaponize the debt ceiling in the first place in 2011 was one of the crucial errors of Obama’s presidency. He appears to have corrected it.