America held hostage

You can tell Krugman is approaching a state of chronic hopelessness over Obama:

So hitting the debt ceiling would be a very bad thing. Unfortunately, it may be unavoidable.

Why? Because this is a hostage situation. If the president and his allies operate on the principle that failure to raise the debt ceiling is an unthinkable outcome, to be avoided at all cost, then they have ceded all power to those willing to bring that outcome about. In effect, they will have ripped up the Constitution and given control over America’s government to a party that only controls one house of Congress, but claims to be willing to bring down the economy unless it gets what it wants.

Now, there are good reasons to believe that the G.O.P. isn’t nearly as willing to burn the house down as it claims. Business interests have made it clear that they’re horrified at the prospect of hitting the debt ceiling. Even the virulently anti-Obama U.S. Chamber of Commerce has urged Congress to raise the ceiling “as expeditiously as possible.” And a confrontation over spending would only highlight the fact that Republicans won big last year largely by promising to protect Medicare, then promptly voted to dismantle the program.

But the president can’t call the extortionists’ bluff unless he’s willing to confront them, and accept the associated risks.

According to Harry Reid, the Senate majority leader, Mr. Obama has told Democrats not to draw any “line in the sand” in debt negotiations. Well, count me among those who find this strategy completely baffling. At some point — and sooner rather than later — the president has to draw a line. Otherwise, he might as well move out of the White House, and hand the keys over to the Tea Party.

Like Digby, I don’t believe the Republicans will do it. They’ve already said they won’t do it, and if that’s true, Obama is merely using the debt ceiling crisis as cover for what he wants to do, anyway.

4 thoughts on “America held hostage

  1. Obama has stated since before he officially entered the primary for Dem presidential candidate that he believed Medicare needed to be reworked, that it was a big problem. SocSec as well, and Paul Krugman alerted his readers to this as a foolish and essentially financially ignorant thing for a Dem to say.

    So, look back, even tho’ Obama himself says to look forward only, and see what he has in mind.

    He is not a foursquare defender of SocSec or Medicare.

  2. Obama’s method of negotiating, at least with the Republicans, is to move over and over toward their position, then, essentially to give them what they want (and even more with the Bush tax cut extensions sweetened with even more tax cuts for certain hedgies PLUS raising taxes on the very poorest workers).

    Why, oh why does he do such things? Because, all together now, he’s a conservative.

    However, it’s not that this is his sole negotiating method: With the left, he starkly and irrecovably lays down markers (Single payer is off the table, and then lies about some weak, undefined substitute referred to a a/the public option, which he had already promised the Big Insurers he would never allow in the final legislation) and kicks lefties under the bus.

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