Saturday, July 30, 2011

President Obama and Republicans Have Entered Into Talks on the Debt Ceiling and Deficit Reduction – Few Things Are Scarier Than That

Wondering What Will Mr. Obama Give Away Now

It is Saturday evening at the end of July.  The debt ceiling crisis will either be resolved, or some time between August 2 and August 10 the U.S. will start to shut down federal government operations and default on obligations under its outstanding debt.

So far two things have happened in recent times.

  1. The Republicans in the House have passed a bill that should be totally unacceptable to any rational person.  It requires a second debt ceiling vote early next year, and requires adoption of a Constitutional amendment in order to raise the debt ceiling. 

  1. The Republicans in the Senate will filibuster any Democratic efforts to pass a Democratic plan.  And so that no one misunderstands what that is, the Republicans who cannot defeat a Democratic plan in an up-or-down vote will not allow that vote. (Republicans have a problem with this “democracy” thing.)

The review of all this in the press, it is somehow the fault of both Democrats and Republicans.  Yes, the concept of the unbiased, objective press corps takes another blow.

Philip Scott Andrews/The New York Times
Senator Mitch McConnell and
Speaker John A. Boehner spoke at a press conference on Saturday.

Senator Mitch McConnell (R, Ky) the minority leader of the Senate, who has stated repeatedly that his highest political priority is the defeat of Mr. Obama in the 2012 election has demanded that Mr. Obama become involved (again).  Reports are now out that indeed the Republican leaders are meeting with Mr. Obama.

WASHINGTON — The top two Republicans in Congress said Saturday that they had begun new talks with President Obama and their fellow Congressional leaders to try to find a way to end the debt limit fight.

Now the last time Mr. Obama became involved in these talks he was ready to cut Medicare, to cut Social Security, to cut Medicaid and to cut just about every other social program that Democrats have fought to enact over the last thirty years.  The only thing that saved beneficiaries (read the old, the sick, the student, the disabled, the poor) was that the Republicans were too ________ (fill in the blank test, choose from “stupid”, “rigid”, “idiotic”, “stubborn”) to accept the proposal.

So with Mr. Obama involved again, once again a great risk to the government enters the picture.  It is not the risk of default, that will be settled either now or at some time in the future.  The once again risk is that Mr. Obama will try to give away programs that are essential the national welfare.  The only hope may be that once again Republicans are too recalcitrant to accept an even more complete victory in this debacle than they already have achieved.

How much longer can Mr. Obama count on Republicans to save his presidency and keep his re-election chances reasonable? 

[Follow Up:  Senate Minority Leader McConnell opened talks with Vice President Biden on a compromise.  A Democratic official with knowledge of the talks said that Mr. McConnell called Mr. Biden early Saturday afternoon, the first conversation between the two men since Wednesday. The official said the two men talked four more times on Saturday as they tried to work out an agreement.

The deal they were discussing, this person said, resembled the bill that Mr. Boehner won approval for in the House more than it did the one that Mr. Reid had proposed in the Senate.

No surprise there, is there?]

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