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Debt Showdown
The GOP Just Scored a Big Win in the Debt Ceiling Vote

There will be no debt ceiling showdown in Washington this year. After a few weeks of debate, Speaker John Boehner ultimately decided not to stage a repeat of the debt ceiling standoff that consumed American politics this past fall. The House has allowed the debt ceiling to be raised until 2015 with no strings attached (albeit with few Republican votes).

As the New York Times reports, many on the right are extremely angry with Boehner for what they view as a cave to the President:

“He gave the president exactly what he wanted, which is exactly what the Republican Party said we did not want,” said a Republican representative, Tim Huelskamp of Kansas, who last year unsuccessfully tried to rally enough support to derail Mr. Boehner’s re-election as speaker. “It’s going to really demoralize the base.” […]

“A clean debt ceiling is a complete capitulation on the speaker’s part and demonstrates that he has lost the ability to lead the House of Representatives, let alone his own party,” said Jenny Beth Martin, co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots. “It is time for him to go.”

Republicans need to do two things: 1) Take a deep, calming breath. 2) Thank Boehner profusely (in private). If the GOP wins a Senate majority, it will have a much stronger hand in 2015 when the next vote on the debt ceiling comes. Avoiding a debt showdown now is a small step toward that goal. That most Republican House members could protect their right flank with an ostentatious vote against the measure is gravy. No wonder Boehner was singing “zippedee do dah” as he waltzed out of his press conference yesterday. This is a big win.

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  • exceller

    good luck with that. This is being reported in media as a big win for Obama, which of course it is.

  • Stingo

    Republicans had a bad hand, they folded. Better to fold than to go all in with a bad hand.

  • gmcinva

    I really don’t like the continual increase in debt, but I believe the Speaker did what was best in a bad situation. The President and Senate Democrats would have loved to be able to refuse any negotiation, and lure Republicans into another “government shutdown” that would change the subject from the “Obamacare” disaster and increase Democrat hopes of retaining the Senate. This is simply politics that is detrimental to the U.S. financial position, but perhaps is the best of a sorry lot of alternatives.

  • qet

    This logic has always perplexed me. If the GOP won’t fight raising the debt ceiling now, in order that they have a better opportunity of getting a Senate majority, then won’t they also not fight it once they have the majority because that would jeopardize their retention of that majority in the next election? The fact is that the GOP that won’t fight the debt ceiling raise now because it will hurt them in the next election is the same GOP that, once it has that majority, won’t cut spending enough to obviate the need to raise the debt ceiling because cutting all that spending (and remember that in our Jabberwocky world, a failure merely to increase spending over last years’s leevel is considered as a “cut”) will cost them that majority in the next election!

    • Andrew Allison

      Unhappily, history tells us that the GOP is just as irresponsible with the taxpayer’s money as the other guys. They just waste it differently.

      • qet

        Yes, exactly! This is why I am sort of rooting for the Tea Partty element although I really have little hope that if they gained ascendancy within the party they would not end up being exactly the same.

  • TommyTwo

    Dear GOP base, we are abandoning our principles now in order to better fight for them in the future. Please send money and get out the vote.

    • Andrew Allison

      Much as it pains me, I fear that I must disagree with you. There are at least two other scaenaria (LOL). The most likely, in my opinion, was a message to the all-or-nothing crowd that it’s a strategy which gets you nothing. In other words, if you don’t have a proposal which can pass in the Senate, STFU. The alternative is that the pain wasn’t worth the purely symbolic game. In order to win the Senate in November, the GOP has to start acting like a adult.

      • TommyTwo

        I am happy to ease your pain and state that I don’t think we disagree. My comment was not meant to oppose Boehner’s understandable tactic but only to point out that it too could have electoral costs, among people who are “deep, calming breath”-ed out.

  • Jim__L

    The Democrats shouldn’t feel bad about this GOP victory — they’ve have had triumphs of their own recently!

    ObamaCare has been repealed. Jerry Brown just cancelled California’s HSR, saying “Jeez, what was I thinking?” Al Gore and James Hansen have issued plenary retractions of everything they’ve ever said or written. And to top off the week of wins, Nancy Pelosi and Barbara Boxer were run over by buses. (Don’t worry, the buses are OK!)

  • ltlee1

    Will Boehner run for president? He looks great, not just president, but regal.

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