How Clinton foiled Republican extortion over the debt ceiling

Of course, the main difference is, Obama wanted the showdown to rationalize his much-desired Grand Bargain on Social Security and Medicare! Jonathan Chait:

If you haven’t already read Kara Brandeisky’s story about how the Clinton administration handled the debt ceiling in 1995, you should definitely do it. As she notes, the circumstances were different in 1995. Republicans were somewhat less fixated on the debt ceiling, and also somewhat less destructive and crazy. But they weren’t that much less destructive and crazy:

“Nobody should assume we’re going to have a debt-limit extension,” John Boehner warned. “If the vote were held today, it would not pass.” Sound familiar? This was Boehner in November of 1995, when he was the House Republican Conference chairman and his party was refusing to raise the debt ceiling unless President Bill Clinton agreed to a package of sweeping spending cuts.

The biggest single difference is that the Clinton administration simply refused on principle to get jacked up on the debt ceiling:

Still, even though Clinton enjoyed political and economic advantages that Obama does not, his no-compromises strategy had some clear advantages. Unlike Obama, he refused to let the threat of default set the national agenda. Because he would not enter into negotiations over the debt ceiling, the issue barely roused the public consciousness. On November 9, 1995, a senior administration official told the Washington Post, “Our position is it does not matter what they put on this legislation, we are not going to accept anything but clean bills because we will not be blackmailed over default. Get it? No extortion. No blackmail. What you hear are their screams of complaint as they realize we are not, not, not budging on this.”

Kind of hard to imagine somebody from this administration talking like that.

7 thoughts on “How Clinton foiled Republican extortion over the debt ceiling

  1. Kind of hard? No one, repeat no one in the Obama administration will ever stand up for anyone other than our Corporate Masters. My comment to the Dems in my state when they ask for contributions, “why the fuck would I support a Republican?”

  2. I was going to google about Clinton’s debt ceiling contretemps, but forgot. Thank you, Susie.

    And what a difference.

  3. I was thinking about this on and off as I woke up and couldn’t get back to sleep right away. The more I thought about what Clinton did, the more I became disgusted with what I consider to some mindless equivalents being drawn by some leftists between Clinton and Obama.

    Clinton did favor some business friendly actions and legislation, but, on the whole, he also kept the needs and desires of the working people very much in mind and at or near the top of his agenda.

    I’ve got a lot to do before it rains here, so can’t add more now. But Clinton, for all his faults, never let the R’s be seen to push him around. And, while I think it’s kabuki, at least on Obama’s part since he wants to do these very conservative and Republican things, Obama does come across as a man unable to stand up to the Republicans. I don’t know how much longer even his true believers will believe he’s doing a good job* and deserves a second term.

    *In that his supporters do not in general support the R agenda, which O is implementing for them.

  4. I hate BHO with the fire of ten-thousand suns – but I do believe the TP freshmen in Congress would have let the country go into default. I believe Cantor even wanted us to as he would have made money.

    If BHO had any spine he would have let that be seen and used the 14th amendment.

  5. So what? Let it go into default, and then hang the results around their necks. Millions of us are already in default: unemployed, bankrupt, foreclosed, sick and uninsured. A default on treasury bonds is not going to hurt us or make our situation any less bearable than it already is. The default would hurt the bankers, the traders and those whose wealth is all built out of a pyramid of paper. And these are the people who deserve to be hurt.

    I cared about this “default” situation because I knew that the bankers and brokers would never allow anything to happen that would cost them money. They were only using the drama as a tool to extract more money out of the lower classes. Did you notice how magically it all came together right before the train was about to go over the cliff? It was all staged to work out that way.

    The Christmas drama over the Oligarchs’ deadline trigger deal will go the same way. Further I predict that not a penny will be taken out of the real Pentagon budget. (Maybe from some kind of fake budget, but not the real one.)

    My thoughts are about all the things that are being ignored and covered up during these public soap operas, the things that are left undone or done quietly in the background. How did we waste a whole year on “health care reform”? And waste three or four months last fall on “renewing the tax cuts”? And all summer on this farce? And now the next three months on the secret debate of the 12 Oligarchs?

    Its the “do-nothing congress” conniving with the “do-nothing president” to keep us all distracted while the burglars carry our furniture and valuables out the back door.

  6. Typo. Should have said:

    “I NEVER cared about this “default situation” ….

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