* Big business groups finding they can’t put the Tea Party genie back in the bottle:
My pick for read of the morning is this New York Times piece detailing one of the more amusing dynamics of the debt ceiling fight: Leading business groups who helped elect scores of Tea Party Republicans to Congress are suddenly finding that when it comes to the debt ceiling, they can’t control the monster they’ve unleashed.
Groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce spent millions to elect Tea Partyers in hopes of harnassing their anti-government ideology for the purposes of cutting their taxes, gutting regulations and rolling back Obama’s reforms. But now that these groups are pushing for a debt ceiling hike, they’re suddenly finding that these freshman Republicans are far more in the grip of their crazed anti-spending fanaticism than anyone bargained for. No matter how hard the groups try, the automaton-like shock troops they helped send to Congress can’t be reasoned with when it comes to staving off the impending debt limit default and implosion of our economy.
There’s no putting this ideological genie back in the bottle, and the consequences may be dire for all of us.
* House GOP scrambles to build support for Boehner proposal: Republican leaders have pushed back the vote on John Boehner’s two-tier debt ceiling hike plan until Thursday in order to rewrite the bill to ensure deeper spending cuts, another sign of the difficulty of winning over conservative and Tea Party support for it.
Dems are staking an enormous amount on the possibility that Boehner’s proposal may crash and burn in the House, because it could weaken his position in negotiations and put more pressure on Republicans to support Harry Reid’s proposal as the last alternative to default.
* Could moderate GOP Senators back Reid’s proposal? Allapundit gives voice to a real fear on the right: If the Boehner plan fails to pass the House, moderate Senate Republicans may very well swing behind Reid’s plan rather than allow default to happen . That’s certainly what Dems are banking on.
* The House GOP whip list: Felicia Sonmez tallies it up and finds that 20 House Republicans are either solid No votes or may be leaning No on Boehner’s plan. GOP leaders can only afford to lose 22 votes before they need Dem support to pass it.
Meanwhile, The Hill tallies up 19 No or leaning No votes, with (ominously) another 15 undecided, and concludes that GOP leaders are “struggling to find the votes.”
* GOP establishment hits the panic button: The Wall Street Journal’s lead editorial today absolutely blisters Republicans who are holding out against Boehner’s proposal, accusing them of being out of touch with reality and of “playing into Obama’s hands.” Again, this represents the GOP establishment panicking over their sudden discovery that the Tea Partyers they helped send to Congress are in the grip of an anti-spending fanaticism that has left them utterly unreachable by reason.
* McConnell urges conservatives to except something less than perfect: Relatedly, in a sign of how badly he wants a way out of this impasse, Mitch McConnell valiently suggests to conservatives that they just might have to compromise a little bit in order to reach a deal:
“We’re going to have to get back together and get a solution here. We cannot get a perfect solution, from my point of view, controlling only the House of Representatives. So I’m prepared to accept something less than perfect, because perfect is not achievable.”
McConnell has been realistically warning his party that they must avoid default and the economic and political catastrophe that would ensue. The problem, of course, is that some Republicans find compromise a non-starter by definition and even think default would be a good idea
* Senate leaders quietly negotiating a compomise: Indeed, even though McConnell is publicly attacking Reid’s plan, he’s privately negotiating with Reid in an effort to reach a compromise that Senate Republicans can support. The problem remains whether any such deal can pass the House.
* 2012 GOP hopefuls tread carefully in debt limit fight: The real takeaway from the reluctance of 2012 GOP hopefuls to embrace Boehner’s plan: The debt limit fight is forcing the candidates to tread with exceptional care, lest any hint of reasonableness or willingness to compromise alienates Tea Party voteres.
* Could debt increase become major liability in GOP primaries? Good ABC News piece detailing how Senator Richard Lugar is discovering that his previous support for hiking the debt ceiling, once a no-brainer, is putting him seriously on the defensive in his battle with a Tea Party primary challenger. A dynamic to watch for in other races.
* Don’t cut Social Security or Medicare benefits: As Joan McCarter says, polls showing opposition to entitlements benefits cuts aren’t just a warning to GOPers; they’re also a warning to Obama: Rather than merely neutralize the spending issue, it’s feasible that such cuts could damage h im politically.
* And the debate rages on: Is Obama’s willingness to compromise represent weakness, or sound strategy? Ed Kilgore attempts an explanation of Obama’s strategic goals:
The short-term strategy involves constantly displaying the president’s reasonableness as compared to Republicans for the edification of swing voters, even if it looks like weakness, fecklessness, or even treachery to liberals. It will be followed by a general election stretch-drive message of comparative attacks on Republicans as irresponsible extremists, using the impressions built up in 2009-2011 as cannon fodder for the attacks.
Glenn Greenwald dissents, arguing that Obama’s problems with the base are deeper than polls show and can’t be explained away by happy-faced Democratic leaders.
What else is going on?