Warning; there will be f-bombs. I am that fucking pissed off.
If you missed The Morning Jolt from Jim Geraghty this morning, you missed your humbled correspondent being featured in the Addendum. I guess it’s time to expand on the tweet that put the closing charge in things:
(W)ait until 8/3 to introduce the Boehner plan – NOTHING will get signed by Obama before then. NOTHING!
It should have become crystal-clear when the White House-led debt ceiling talks broke off abruptly last Friday, after President Obama altered the terms of a deal that would have both cemented his re-election and permanently buried the GOP as the minority “half” of the bipartisan Party-In-Government, that he wants a default and what Monty over at Ace of Spades HQ succinctly calls DOOM!. It did become crystal-clear when Obama kept on blaming everybody but himself for the collapse while offering, to date, no plan. We could argue the “why”, but that would be a tinfoil-hat-swapping party (hint; the one-word explanation starts and ends with a “S”).
At that point, the Republicans had a rather strong opening position called Cut, Cap and Balance, one that already was voted out of the House. I’ll state right here and now that, even though I like it, it had no chance of actually becoming law. However, it, along with the equally-stalled House budget (which, while it did not address the debt ceiling and indeed would need about a $2.0 trillion increase in the debt ceiling to make it work through early 2013, addressed the larger issue of size and cost of government), stood as the only things that actually had any demonstrable support.
The first two fuck-ups actually predated the collapsed White House talks, one by a large margin. The continuing resolution to fund government through September 30 did absolutely, positively nothing to alter either the timing of the debt-ceiling crisis or the amount perceived to be necessary to get the next credit-card application date into early 2013. In fact, those of us who bitched about it not exactly cutting spending were told to shut up and wait for the debt ceiling battle. As I noted above, the House budget did change the latter slightly, but then again, that is as stalled and dead as Cut, Cap and Balance.
Senate Repulican “Leader” Mitch McConnell leaked the first Plan “B” (for Blame) – let Obama raise the debt ceiling on his own unless 2/3rds of Congress objects. It would have been, had it truly been a Plan “B” rather than Plan “Good, Solid B+”, an elegant trap for Obama. However, it was released weeks before the DOOM! date.
The third fuck-up was offering up $800 billion in tax hikes in those ultimately failed talks, presumably versus what the CBO calls the alternative fiscal scenario, which continues all current tax rates through 2021 rather than current tax law. News flash – by 2018, the taxes under that scenario already would be more than the 50-year (1951-2000) average of 18.06% of GDP, and then it would permanently be stuck at the even-higher 18.4% of GDP it reaches by 2021. That tax-pledge break would, had only Obama been savvy enough to accept it, have been strike three on fiscal matters for the GOP in the last 21 years, and functionally the same as the broken “No New Taxes” pledge from former President George H.W. Bush that was strike one.
The fourth fuck-up was McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner getting a “broad” agreement with Senate Democrat Leader Harry Reid that had only a nebulous $2.8 trillion “deficit reduction” number and no tax increases with with absolutely, positively no common baseline. Reid, who unlike either McConnell or Boehner, is at least someone who has a half-assed fucking clue on how to lead, played the Stupid Party “leaders” like a pair of bongo drums by claiming the $1 trillion in “savings” from reductions in expenditures in the Global War on Terror everybody else already agreed to as, ultimately, the major part of his “deficit reduction”.
The fifth fuck-up was Boehner going first on the basis of that agreement. Actually, I’ll call it two fuck-ups to make it an even half-dozen; going first, and going before Obama forces a default. Going first allowed Reid to put in just enough non-GWOT “deficit reduction” to beat Boehner in that category, at least with version 1.0.0. Boehner did put in a minimal amount of effort to beat Reid with version 1.0.1 (note to self; update the previous post with that minimal effort).
As I stated above, there is NOTHING, and I mean NOTHING, Obama will sign before he forces a default and DOOM!. It actually has been too late to avoid DOOM! since July 21st as Obama can sit on a bill for 10 days (plus Sundays) before he has to do something with it. Proof of that is that Reid, who has served his role as Obama’s roadblock well, declared Boehner’s version 1.0.0 plan dead-on-arrival.
All Boehner has done is make the “ceiling” the GOP can reach the Ohio Two-Step instead of Cut, Cap and Balance. By releasing it before anything the Democrats put forward either get to a vote or get to a head, he lost any chance of getting even that modest concession.