Gerry Canavan

the smartest kid on earth

73 Hours

with 9 comments

The latest incarnation of the terrible debt deal—which follows the absurd spectacle of McConnell filibustering a more right-wing version of his own proposal—is only one more reason for Obama to finally invoke the Fourteenth Amendment and end this insanity once and for all. (For what it’s worth, Jack Belkin says he’s actually already begun the process.)

What worries me is that many progressives seem to have mistaken Boehner’s bad press in recent days for a reversal of results. Make no mistake: Republicans are still running the table, having somehow managed to transform what was once a purely pro forma vote into massive unilateral concessions. The final deal is much closer to Boehner’s than Reid’s, where Reid’s plan was a more right-wing version of McConnell’s, which itself was far to the right of where negotiations began, which itself is far to the right of just raising the debt ceiling without conditions, which is what was done the last hundred times this came up. As I said on Twitter earlier this evening, it’s a testament to just how badly Democrats have been outplayed on the debt ceiling that some progressives seem to think our side is winning. In fact the Republicans won this game by a mile: they got the drastic, draconian spending cuts they wanted and total control over an automatic trigger for even worse cuts—all without any new revenue whatsoever. Democrats got the good sportsmanship award.

The only hope left now is that the crazies are so crazy they can’t take even a lopsided deal for an answer, forcing Obama to take the constitutional option despite his congenital inability to take a stand.

We are now 73 hours from default.

Written by gerrycanavan

July 31, 2011 at 12:20 am

9 Responses

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  1. President Clinton also suggested he use the 14th amendment,, but it cannot be used until the system falls. I am not certain how that works, after the fact.. It is not something they speak about. I do hope they can be sensible. God bless both parties to do the right thing.

    Mary Dicerni

    July 31, 2011 at 1:44 am

  2. I guess the idea is that we wait until the market crashes, then he comes out that afternoon and says “Actually my lawyers have determined the debt ceiling is illegal, so everything is fine.” I’d prefer he do it before the crash personally.


    July 31, 2011 at 1:46 am

  3. what progressives think our side is winning?


    July 31, 2011 at 1:47 am

    • I’ve seen a burst of self-congratulation on forums and comment threads following the failed Boehner vote on Thursday. These people are totally, totally wrong.


      July 31, 2011 at 1:54 am

  4. (Reposting my reply to this from my blog to here, where someone is more likely to see it:)

    This is almost precisely right. My one caveat is that I think this underplays the degree to which the result is along the same lines as what Obama — and quite possibly a lot of other Democrats too — wanted. There’s every reason to think that Obama wanted a center-right deal, one far to the right of what the majority of his voters want (and most of those that *do* want it did so because of the relentless disinformation and misinformation about what will and what will not actually help them and theirs find jobs). So some of what Gerry makes out to be the Democrats getting punked is actually Obama joining with the right to punk those who voted for him. Not 100% — this is almost certainly will be a farther-right deal than Obama (or Reid, or Pelosi…) wanted; but Obama clearly wanted to be forced to move right, and if the Republicans made him move some degree farther than he wanted, well, that’s just business. We all have to sacrifice, right?

    And ultimately precisely what degree this is Obama being punked and what degree this is Obama joining with the Republicans to punk us doesn’t matter: the long and the short of it is that we’re going to get screwed — not quite as badly as if default happens, I guess, but it’s always harder when it’s someone you thought was to-some-degree on your side doing the knifing.

    Stepehn Frug

    July 31, 2011 at 1:34 pm

    • I don’t disagree with that at all, and in fact I think I’ve said almost the same thing elsewhere. Obama *wanted* this deal or something like it more or less from the start of his presidency.

      When I say “our side,” I mean progressives, not Democrats. The Democrats, by and large, are not on our side.


      July 31, 2011 at 1:36 pm

      • I know that you know this. But you said that something’s testimony “to just how badly Democrats have been outplayed on the debt ceiling that some progressives seem to think our side is winning”… maybe it ought to have read “to just how badly Progressives have been outplayed on the debt ceiling that some of us seem to think that Democrats are on our side.” I mean, I think that in some ways the Democrats have been outplayed *too*… but to some degree they’ve also been playing. Progressives — and, of course, the country — have just gotten screwed.

        Stepehn Frug

        July 31, 2011 at 2:01 pm

      • I endorse that formulation.


        July 31, 2011 at 2:02 pm

  5. Obama = Quisling

    Obama wants to rule Republican America

    (Please tell me how I’m wrong.)

    Alex Chaffee

    July 31, 2011 at 8:23 pm

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