McCain: Republicans who vote against this budget deal without proposing their own plan lack some intellectual integrity

Via Charlie Spiering, for once Maverick really is engaged in some straight talk. He’s not voting for the Boehner/Ryan bill because it’s a good deal, he says, he’s voting for it because his top priority here is to avert another shutdown. Simple as that. (Well, almost: He also wants to roll back sequestration cuts to defense spending, naturally.) That’s why the House GOP passed it too, notwithstanding Paul Ryan’s frequently painful attempts to frame the deal as some sort of win for smaller government. Republicans in leadership are terrified that Cruz or Paul will build a grassroots groundswell for another shutdown before the midterms so they decided to take that weapon out of their hands. McCain’s whole shpiel here, in fact, is basically an accusation that the “defund” faction led the party into a standoff which it had no plan for resolving. No more dead ends, says Maverick.

Or are there?

Senate Republicans Tuesday said they are ready to go to battle over raising the debt limit early next year, echoing comments made by Rep. Paul Ryan over the weekend that the GOP would rally for certain concessions from Democrats at that point…

“We have got to rein in our out of control spending … we’ve also got to provide real relief to the millions of people hurting because of Obamacare. I think that needs to be the focus,” Cruz said. “I am hopeful that we will use every leverage point available to try and turn this country around and pull back from the fiscal and economic cliff we find ourselves in.”…

Sen. Jeff Flake argued that negotiations over the debt limit have been effective, resulting in spending reductions that Republicans want. Flake would not point to any one thing he’d like to see as part of a debt limit increase except to say “spending cuts.”

Does the GOP have any real leverage in the next debt-ceiling battle, though? There’s already a de facto “centrist caucus” of Republicans in the Senate who’ll vote with Reid to give him 60 votes in the event of any intractable brinksmanship. You know the names — McCain, Collins, Kirk, Murkowski, sometimes Graham, sometimes Isakson, etc. There are always six that Reid can get, which means the success of a debt-ceiling standoff next time depends entirely on Boehner’s resoluteness. Does … this sound like a man who’s ready to go to the mat for conservatives, knowing that hitting the debt limit and triggering a technical default would be more severe than shutting down the government was? Even if, miraculously, Senate Republicans held together and Reid couldn’t get to 60 votes, a debt-ceiling standoff would be the perfect time for him to nuke what’s left of the filibuster. “I’m doing it to save America from default,” he’d say, and the media would applaud. His party might even get a bounce from it in the polls. Not sure why so many congressional Republicans, including Paul Ryan, want to mislead grassroots righties about the debt ceiling now when we all know what the outcome will be.

Anyway, here’s Maverick engaged in his favorite pastime, i.e. congratulating himself for having more integrity than you. If he wanted to accuse his colleagues of lacking intellectual integrity, I don’t know why he seized on this business about not offering an alternative plan. The real reason they lack integrity is that most of them secretly agree that another shutdown should be avoided at all costs. Most voted no today purely because Reid didn’t need them to invoke cloture, leaving them free to impress conservatives by formally rejecting the deal. Whatever.

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