The Washington Post

Whoops! Michele Bachmann inadvertently proves key GOP talking point false

Michele Bachmann, on CNN this morning:

Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann said President Obama would be a “dictator” if he raised the debt ceiling by executive order, using the 14th amendment of the U.S. Constitution as justification.

“It’s Congress that does the spending. The president is prohibited to do that. If he had the power to do that he would effectively be a dictator,” the Minnesota Congresswoman said Thursday on CNN’s “American Morning.” “There would be no reason for Congress to even come to Washington, D.C. He would be making the spending decisions … Clearly that’s unconstitutional.”

Of course, if Congress ultimately determines spending — which of course it does — there’s no way raising the debt ceiling would constitute giving President Obama a “blank check,” as John Boehner and other Republicans keep falsely insisting.

The “blank check” talking point is one of the more absurd falsehoods to surface in recent memory. For one thing, as the Government Accountability Office explains: “The debt limit does not control or limit the ability of the federal government to run deficits or incur obligations. Rather, it is a limit on the ability to pay obligations already incurred.”

But even more important, as Bachmann revealed here, the “blank check” talking point is also completely absurd when viewed in light of, you know, the Constitution itself.

Thank you, Representative Bachmann, for showing the courage necessary to buck your party and set the record straight. An act of true leadership.

Greg Sargent writes The Plum Line blog, a reported opinion blog with a liberal slant -- what you might call “opinionated reporting” from the left.


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