In Dana Milbank’s column today, President Obama is all about swagger. Rhetorically, at least, Obama pulled the chair out from under his House Republican opposition, leaving them the options of falling to the ground or trying to stay in an awkwardly seated position until their thighs give way and they fall on the ground. By refusing to negotiate, Milbank says, Obama leave the Republicans with a classic Hobson’s choice: Cave in or be blamed for a default and the economic crisis that follows. And Obama knows they really, really don’t want to cave.
Obama’s acting like he has the Republicans cornered, as though he has no need for the the semi-comity that used to somewhat, kind of, characterize the political parties when they weren’t beating each other with sticks.
Commenters on both sides boosted their teams, either congratulating Obama for sticking to his guns or taunting him right back. It reflected much of the general commenting experience of the early aughts, so PostScript went looking for a third way.
Are the Republicans really trapped? Both they and the president are acting like it, but some commenters think they still have cards to play.
Tostitos models using Obama’s own words against him:
“The fact that we are here today to debate raising America’s debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a Sign that the US Government cannot pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government’s reckless fiscal policies. …Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here’. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and Grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better.” SENATOR BARACK HUSSEIN OBAMA, MARCH 2006
Sharpes50 suggests letting the economy crash into the debt ceiling, fingers crossed that Obama would get the blame:
“If congressional Republicans refuse to pay America’s bills on time, Social Security checks and veterans benefits will be delayed,” the friendly president said. It is his decision. But, of all the things the POTUS could cut, all the frivolous wasteful spending that could be eliminated like GSA’s party budget and his $50B a year DREAM Act, Obama chooses to s c r e w over the elderly and retired military. He really hates loyal old Americans. Don’t dare raise the debt ceiling Mr Boehner. Let’s see how far Emperor Obama will go in trying to kill off the elderly and veterans.
Hopefloats thinks they should rise above a jeering president and come up with plans of their own:
We Republicans should just ignore his taunts and come up with a long term plan for the next 6 or 7 years to close the deficit, reform spending, and reform tax codes. We should not be playing the President’s game. Let the President and the Democrats play by themselves. We should be determining the country’s future spending and tax structure.
I see no point in ranting about the debt [ceiling], again. Let the President rant. The debt [ceiling] is going to rise. So while the Democrats rant about it, we Republicans can structure our future. Then in a month, we let the debt [ceiling] rise. That way the Democrats can seem like the ones acting like the harpies, while something constructive is presented by the Republicans.
It is that simple. We just don’t have to play a game where we can’t achieve anything. No one is forcing the Republicans to fall into that trap.
AskandTell says they should roll over and avoid getting the failures hung around their necks:
If we knew it wouldn’t destroy this country for generations to come, I’d say give Obama every single thing he asks for. Maybe then we’ll stop hearing him blame everyone else for his failures. Deceive, deflect, divert, delay – do anything but take responsibility for the chaos he’s caused and is causing.
deepellum thinks the Republicans will do something hugely different, something operatic:
Dude, Obama acting like a bantam rooster is the last thing we need right now. The GOP are in a suicidal mood, meaning they have really stopped caring about public opinion right now, meaning that inflammatory rhetoric is going to have the exact OPPOSITE effect on them right now. It’s not going to cow them, it’s probably going to make them shoot off into something even more dramatic than they have now. We don’t need a partisan hack right now. We need someone who can calm down his base and, subsequently, the GOP.
Nyetaryan says they shouldn’t turn down the president’s offers to take them to a movie:
This article was mentioned by someone below. It describes how the GOP refused to attend a White House showing of the film, “Lincoln,” to which they were invited by the President.
tone2 says they should look for friendliness in more hospitable places:
If you want friends in Washington get a dog.
They already did, though! Sigh.