Only in Washington’s funhouse mirror atmosphere could Mitch McConnell’s debt ceiling contrivance be considered “responsible.” But given today’s warped world, it is. Still, the White House would be foolish to have the debt ceiling lifted in a way that lets Republicans off the hook for their own hypocrisy while consenting to three big ugly debt votes with which the GOP can make political hay. So here’s my suggestion for a counteroffer.
President Obama should say he’ll accept the McConnell gambit with two conditions. First, there will be one debt vote, not three, that gets the country through to 2013 or 2014.
Next, every Republican in the House and Senate who voted for the Ryan budget plan must do a group reading, on camera, of the following statement. “We’re Republicans who voted for the Paul Ryan budget plan, which, according to independent estimates, would add more than $5 trillion to the national debt in the next decade, and not balance the federal budget until the 2030s.”
Voila! The debt limit gets raised, the GOP gets to “disapprove,” and Democrats can roll the tape to show how the GOP was full of baloney when it came to having a real “solution.” Best of all, the coming movement for a third political party will have all these absurdities on record when it rises up to sweep our current class of “leaders” out of town.