GOP Continues to Play Games With Debt Ceiling

John BoehnerIn the Talking Heads song Once in a Lifetime, David Byrne repeats the line, “Same as it ever was.” That’s what I think of the upcoming debt ceiling showdown. I can’t find it, but there is a quote from some Republican in the House saying that he was going to use the debt ceiling to get what he wants because (this is a paraphrase), “You aren’t certain if I’m crazy enough to do it, but I know you aren’t.” It was clearly said with that typical, friendly unhinged tone that the true believers use thinking they are charming. All it really shows is that they don’t take their jobs seriously and think it is all a game.

Over the weekend, I learned from Jim Newell that the debt ceiling will not be reached on 3 November. What’s more, according to John Boehner and Paul Ryan, there are not enough votes in the House to pass a clean debt ceiling increase. In order to pass such a bill, the House would need 218 votes (assuming everyone voted). There are 188 Democrats in the house. Thus, there would need to be 30 Republicans voting for it — just 12% of their caucus. If we are to believe this, 90% of the House Republicans think that destroying the world economy is perfectly fine.

Supposedly, a deal will be announced tonight that will set the budget and raise the ceiling until the next president is in office.

Of course, it is not true that there are fewer than 30 House Republicans who will vote to raise the debt ceiling. Boehner is using an invalid calculus. He takes the number of Republicans who voted for the last increase — there were 28 — and removes the third who are no longer in office. The truth is that the number of people who voted for it last time was the number of people who needed to vote for it. The rest of them just did what comes naturally: grandstand. It is certain that the vast majority of the House Republicans will take this vote if it is absolutely necessary.

And sure enough, The Hill reported this morning, White House, GOP Near Two-Year Budget Deal. Supposedly, a deal will be announced tonight that will set the budget and raise the ceiling until the next president is in office. The budget is supposed to roll back some of the sequester, so that’s a good thing. In fact, it is such a good thing that I find it hard to believe. But it is indicative of the fact that the House Republicans can do anything it wants to. There may be roughly 50 crazies in their caucus, but the power is still with the Republicans who are awful but not crazy.

What the whole “We don’t have the votes!” shows is that the Republican establishment is still committed to hostage taking. I suppose we can take some solace from the fact that they are not crazy. But they still wish to play dangerous games. And that might be okay if they were smart. But the fact remains that crazy or not, the House Republicans have not shown themselves to be competent at their jobs — much less clever — not to mention brilliant. If there is a deal in the works, it is a very good sign. But we can’t depend upon anything until Obama signs it into law. And then we have to wait for the next time the Republicans play this game.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

16 thoughts on “GOP Continues to Play Games With Debt Ceiling

  1. If they were doing it because of something like the Civil Rights Act where it expanded opportunities to those who historically never had them…then it would make some sort of sense. But this is all about being mad that the world has things like the Civil Rights Act.

    • Even then. It is not acceptable to actively harm the whole world — including the people you supposedly want to help. The truth is, the Republicans will say the same thing now. They are saving millions of unborn “babies” who are being murdered.

      • Hahahaha, I had a hour long twitter fight with this guy along with a friend of mine and we basically made him run off about abortion. He really hated when I pointed out, completely politely and without any swearing, that his position essentially was about torturing women and stripping them of their civil rights without due process. Because he lives in a dream world where every pregnancy is wanted and has no complications.

        The thing is that these are people who very much believe in ends justifying the means so to them, it would make a perverse sort of sense to trash the economy to get some kind of legal right for someone.

  2. This is how we almost ended all mammalian life on Earth having a pissing contest over Cuba. “You aren’t certain if I’m crazy enough to do it.”

    (Note to potential readers of this sub-thread; Cuba is a large Caribbean island, rich in culture and history, with the economic impact/threat to America of Luxembourg or Monaco. And we kinda came close to Armageddon because of a snark-off with Russia about it. Yeah, that happened.)

    • I was shocked when I read the quote. I hope I come upon it again. The thing is, in a game of chicken, no one is determined to die; they just screw up.

      • Mutually Assured Dipshittery.

        You can visit parks about the game of chicken — there’s one run by the Park Service not far from Deadwood:

        It’s where they had the bunker, and two guys were assigned there to sleep in close quarters for 16-hour shifts of being 100% not-gay.

        If the park ranger describes nuclear war as a sane idea, don’t laugh. It made sense! Rangers don’t like it when you find the nuclear bunker ridiculous. (And I’m quite glad this is a park, and glad rangers are very serious about it.)

        These things were built way underground. They had blast doors 10 feet thick. They had friggin’ hydraulics to make the actual command room impervious to giant nuclear bombs going off on top of South Dakota. The hydraulics would make it a bouncy castle, saving the guys inside to order world destruction and not fuck.

        No shit, we built this stuff.

        And they’re decommissioned, now. Because we have newer, more awesome ones.

              • Oh, Lord — see the John Oliver bit on nuclear weapons. Some of these bunkers still use floppy disks.

                As for dream abode, some decommissioned ones are actually being sold as residences.

                • There is a reason that Frank wanted to know about the internet. But the real question is-how is the pizza delivery?

        • I can’t really imagine it. I understand MAD. But once the threat is over, and the bombs are falling, I don’t think I could push the button. The strategy overall is okay. But to implement at that point would be immoral.

          • They did tests where they lied to guys in the bunkers and told them the bombs were falling, you have to join in. Most failed the tests and refused to turn the keys.

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