New GOP idea: How about offering to raise the debt ceiling for the rest of Obama’s term?

posted at 6:45 pm on January 15, 2013 by Allahpundit

What do you do when the opposition’s working night and day to convince voters that you’re an obstructionist, almost nihilistic group that’ll never compromise on anything? Raise the stakes and catch them off guard by proposing a much bigger compromise than they were expecting.

Just one problem with this offer: Would the public really view Obama as the unreasonable party to these negotiations if he turned around and said no?

With the administration’s debt ceiling deadline fast approaching, House Republican leaders are considering a four-year debt limit increase that would take the issue off the table for the rest of President Barack Obama’s presidency.

The plan would, however, come at no easy price for Obama, who pledged as recently as Monday morning not to negotiate with Republicans on a debt ceiling hike. Republicans would demand major tax and entitlement changes — the latter of which has been anathema to many Democrats — and they could also ask for movement on the sequester and an expiring continuing resolution that must be dealt with in the next three months.

The idea was one of many brought up over Sunday and Monday, as Speaker John A. Boehner of Ohio and his leadership team and staff held a strategy session in Warrenton, Va.

“We have an opportunity to inject years of certainty while doing some fundamental tax reform and entitlement reform,” said Rep. Steve Southerland II of Florida, the sophomore class leadership representative, who was at the meeting.

Unless the GOP’s prepared to not only hit the ceiling but hold out for weeks under immense economic and political pressure in hopes of extracting major cuts (which seems unlikely if even Republican senators are grumbling about another debt limit standoff), then a big PR ploy like this makes some sense. If you’re not going get anything meaningful from a confrontation, why not use it as an opportunity to make the left into the bad guy? Four-year debt-ceiling increase! Party of yes! New golden age of bipartisan cooperation! If the Democrats can come to the table, of course.

Let’s game this out, though. Boehner calls a press conference, walks out to the podium, and declares that the end of manufactured budget standoffs must end. The solution: A massive debt-ceiling hike to cover the rest of O’s presidency in exchange for reforms to Social Security and Medicare. Obama then calls a presser of his own, walks out, and says, “Sounds interesting! Name the cuts you have in mind.” So Boehner huddles with Cantor, Kevin McCarthy, and Paul Ryan, calls another presser, and lists all sorts of cuts and reforms to entitlements that’ll slash the deficit. Whereupon O calls his second presser and declares that he’d never, never abandon America’s seniors by agreeing to the sort of draconian cuts that the GOP so cruelly blah blah blah blah. What’s Boehner’s move then? The political damage has already been done at that point; Democrats will spend the next two years Mediscaring ahead of the midterms. Instead of being demagogued in the media as spiteful obstructionists who want America’s credit rating to implode, they’ll be demagogued as vicious misers looking to balance the budget on grandma’s back. What Boehner could do to prevent that is refuse to name any specific cuts publicly and insist that they be negotiated between the parties behind closed doors. But Obama won’t go for that; he won’t give away his Mediscaring opportunity, so he’ll simply turn around and say, “Get back to me when you’ve got something concrete in mind.” What then?

The only way the GOP has real leverage in negotiations against a Democratic president and Senate is if they have the public on their side, but the whole point of the last election is that the public’s even less serious about fiscal reality than the Democrats are. That’s been said many times in media old and new lately, but it can’t be said enough. When you poll people on their policy priorities, deficit reduction always does well, but once you drill down to bedrock stuff like entitlements voters start to abandon ship. What’s the GOP supposed to do in those circumstances? They can’t shut down the government to force spending cuts because the public hates shutdowns. They can’t offer a major compromise like a four-year debt-ceiling hike to encourage cuts because the public hates the sort of cuts that would be needed to really drive down the deficit. The only thing that could move public opinion is a sustained bully-pulpit educational campaign by the White House, but there’s zero reason to think Obama’s interested in that. As Philip Klein notes at the Examiner today, The One has never agreed to spending cuts unless a crisis has forced him to. So again: What do you want Republicans to do? Even if they went full kamikaze and won some cuts by enforcing a sustained federal shutdown, they’d face a huge risk of being swept away in a backlash in the midterms and those cuts being rescinded by the new Democratic House. The problem isn’t that the House leadership “has no balls” or whatever, it’s that they have no partner on fiscal responsibility. Not even in the electorate.

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Comment pages: 1 2

Where are the House Republicans? Tongue-tied?

Phil Byler on January 15, 2013 at 9:40 PM

Keeping thier lips zipped to Boehner

PolAgnostic on January 15, 2013 at 10:15 PM

Everyone is missing the point.

With the “debt ceiling” reached, Borrowing is now back at it’s proper place: Congress. The debt ceiling does not supercede, or suppress, a Power of Congress. They may still designate an amount for bonds, and the Treasury would then execute a lawful action to borrow.

Debt Ceiling came in effect around 1940, but it’s conception was WWI for the bonds to pay for war..Liberty Bonds. As with everything it morphed. FDR even defaulted on some Bonds that came due because of Gold, there was a Supreme Court case, and Justice was denied…even though the Court held for the bond-holders. Slippery slope b!tches. Then it became a simple, go ahead and borrow up to said amount if ya want. Then gold-standard was abolished, not even gonna talk about Constitutional here. Fiat inflation, and here we are.

With the Debt Ceiling reached, Congress has full control of borrowing, and they should force themselves to borrow every time they want to go higher. I mean by using Law, such as it was meant. Force them to vote, and have something to hold up. Turn the tables, or we’re going to hyperinflate to misery, confiscation, socialism, and war.

John Kettlewell on January 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM

John Kettlewell on January 15, 2013 at 10:20 PM

My sources have 1917, but it still is a recent invention. Before then, Congress specifically authorized each major debt issue.

Steve Eggleston on January 15, 2013 at 10:46 PM

If the GOP agrees to do this it will be one of the biggest – and most cowardice – betrayals of the American people in our nation’s history!

1. Obama says we will not be able to pay our debt without a debt ceiling increase — THAT IS A LIE! Our nation takes in over $2 trillion in tax revenue every year – that is more than enough to pay the interest on our debt, which is all we have to pay to keep from defaulting on our debt.

2. Obama has and will undoubtedly engage in fear mongeringby declaring the GOP will keep ‘granny’ from getting her social security check if the debt ceiling is not increased. Again, we have more than enough in tax revenue to cover the cost of our debt’s interest and all those checks sent out every month. Also, those checks go out automatically, even if there is a government shut down. The ONLY way those checks stop & we default on our debt is if the Secretary of the Treasury takes action to do so!


Obama is not a King, this is not a dictatorship, & he is not above the Constitution or U.S. law – both of which he swore an oath to protect, defend, & enforce. Since he refuses to do so ALL politicians – not just Republicans – should force him to do so OR IMPEACH HIM & GET SOMEONE WHO WILL!

easyt65 on January 15, 2013 at 11:14 PM

J_Crater on January 15, 2013 at 6:55 PM

Exactly… Allahpundit has over thought this. The question is the amount of money it is going to take to cover Obama’s presidency. These yearly hikes hide the total amount. The tactic is sticker shock. The possibility of Obama having to admit to another 5 trillion in debt would do wonders. The GOP has the leverage by giving Obama what he wants and playing the role of peacemaker and “Getting things done in a bipartisan fashion.” Watching that little feller on MSNBC figure out how to spin the wise choice as not raising the debt ceiling for four years but a mere two years which would still be a huge amount. Then the GOP goes to the CBO to find out a good number, this good number will be too low because it is based on static assumptions. The GOP does this on purpose. Why you ask ? Because the debt ceiling fight comes back right before the midterms. Obama will most likely agree because he is a selfish SOB that does cares only for himself. He doesn’t need to get reelected. So the Democrats have to spend September and October in a debt fight again.

If the GOP was too lame to let taxes go up and say to the nation “This is what government costs.” Then this is at least a half measure to make an impression. Let Fitch downgrade us again, then the GOP can sit back and say hey this is the course the nation wants.

Theworldisnotenough on January 15, 2013 at 11:15 PM

Does anyone know which nation was known to contain the most simple-minded and uninformed people on earth prior to the United States taking the title on November 6th 2012?

Certif on January 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM

“We have to ask ourselves, ‘What is winning in this scenario?’”

National survival. Where is this president with that?

Where is the GOP?

Speakup on January 15, 2013 at 11:31 PM

Does anyone know which nation was known to contain the most simple-minded and uninformed people on earth prior to the United States taking the title on November 6th 2012?

Certif on January 15, 2013 at 11:29 PM

I think they took the title in 2008.

sharrukin on January 15, 2013 at 11:33 PM

How about we just give Obama whatever he wants and watch the nation burn? Would that be winning?

The Rogue Tomato on January 15, 2013 at 11:42 PM

Dead on analysis AP! As Milton Friedman stated, the way you achieve change is not by electing the right people. Rather, it is by making it politically profitable for the wrong people to do the right thing. Sadly, we are nowhere near there.

netster007x on January 15, 2013 at 11:52 PM

Here’s an idea: Sure, go ahead an pass a bill raising the debt limit for 4 years, but add to the bill the repeal of Obamacare. Then leave town to show that you are serious and that this will be the only raise to the debt limit passed so there is no room for negotiations.

OhioBuckeye7 on January 16, 2013 at 4:17 AM

Boehner & the GOP leadership are just plain awful at their jobs. They achieve absolutely nothing meaningful, but they allow Obama & the MSM to demonize them for being extreme obstructionists while they do it.

“Let It Burn” isn’t a political strategy – it’s what’s going to happen. It’s too bad Boehner is so politically incompetent the GOP will get the blame.

DRayRaven on January 16, 2013 at 6:05 AM

All this is a big sickening BS
All along, they do have one big issue that will end all this … FAST!
Take up that usurper issue and press for hard evidence, of his birth and citizenship.
All this will end right away!

deafy on January 16, 2013 at 11:49 AM

And then what? What if he doesn’t go away in 2017? What will you do then smarty pants? Idiots, all.

totherightofthem on January 16, 2013 at 12:28 PM

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