Here’s a good summary of the lousy position the Republicans in Congress are in vis a vis the so-called fiscal cliff.
To make a long story short: between Scylla and Charybdis.
However, I’m partial to the suggestion that Republicans in the House should pass the Simpson-Bowles recommendations and send them on to the Senate:
Simpson-Bowles is far more responsible than what President Obama is currently offering and probably far better than a slapped together grand bargain made by Obama and Speaker Boehner behind closed doors as a deadline closes in…It is also a fully formed plan with on-the-record bipartisan support and near-universal acceptance as “reasonable” and “sober” by the media and Beltway types. A lot of that is lip service from folks who felt rather certain the plan would never be seriously considered, but it still makes it hard to frame Republicans as obstinate obstructionists when they offer up the plan of none other than Mssrs. Simpson and Bowles…Rejecting it out of hand to allow liberals to continue living in debt denial might be a move so irresponsible as to make even the press notice.
Would Congressional Republicans ever have the guts for a jujitsu move like that? Dunno, but a person can hope. Because they really have few other options.
Not that Simpson-Bowles would ever go into effect. The Senate wouldn’t pass it. But it least it has the possibility of embarrassing the Democrats.
But has anyone noticed this little element of Obama’s “offer”?
To add injury to insult, the President is also demanding carte blanche in the future to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally; wresting this power from Congress, from debate or oversight. This would give this most profligate of Presidents an unlimited credit card to continue running up the national debt at his whim.
Years ago I wrote (although I can’t seem to locate it now) that if Obama were elected to a second term he would be unrestrained by any need to appeal to moderates. It turns out I was wrong—because even before his re-election, during the 2012 campaign, Obama was unrestrained by the need to appeal to moderates (as the clear-eyed Stanley Kurtz pointed out in October, before Obama’s victory).
So at this point Obama really doesn’t have to pretend to be moderate, even for a moment. Thus he can begin cementing his long-held goal of consolidating even more power unto himself—witness the proposal that he take on Congress’s role vis a vis the debt ceiling. Is it even constitutional to do so? And if it were, who has the power to stop him? Just try it, suckers, he says.
Does Obama think the Republicans will cave on this particular point and cede that power? But even if they don’t, his own audaciousness in suggesting it must excite him no end.