Sunday, July 14, 2013

GOP sets the table for a debt fight

I haven't been hearing previews of the next big fiscal fight between the Dems and the GOP. If you recall, the GOP keeps saying they're going to stand firm and make the Dems give ground in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. Then each time the GOP capitulates. Well, at least that's what's happened every time after their success in August 2011.

But this time will be different, the GOP leaders swear. Let's just check on that. Hmm, it seems that the GOP has a menu of concessions it wants. They want entitlement reform based on Paul Ryan's formula (yes, that losing formula). If that's doesn't lure Obama into a deal, there's tax reform along GOP guidelines. Further down the menu there's a demand that Obama gut Obamacare and/or approve the Keystone pipeline.

There's a huge problem in the GOP plans. They amount to inviting Obama to come to a table to eat crow. But Obama doesn't have to eat crow. If the GOP wants a negotiation, it needs to set out more tempting options, and they need to be more pleasant dinner company. However, the GOP isn't ideologically ready for that, so it's acting to type.

Here's what will happen: Obama will call the bluff, not negotiate, and also show that the GOP isn't negotiating either. The debt ceiling will approach, and (say it in unison) the GOP will capitulate.

The GOP isn't actually getting ready for a fight or a negotiation. If they were, they would be doing a media blitz on their ideas in an attempt to gain momentum in popular opinion. They aren't doing that, so there won't be a swell of support that pushes Obama to the table. He can simply resist, and let the concerns about government shutdown overwhelm the GOP position.

This is so obvious to me, and I'm no guru of political analysis. Why isn't it clear to the leaders of the GOP? I've got to conclude that they know they're in a stalemate, but they're trying to keep morale up. In the end, they'll declare victory in stopping Obama from raising taxes. Very likely they'll also have the fig leaf of appropriation deals that keep the status quo going one more year. Hoorah for our great heroes!!!

The wonderland of GOP negotiations

Extras. The author of this article discussions the GOP strategy. She also predicts that immigration reform will happen in the House after it's too late for primary challenges.

My apologies for this additional boring installment in my series about our frozen politics. My point--no major changes, status quo budgets. Yawn.

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