Somewhat conflicting messages from the White House re: debt ceiling

Filed in National by on December 6, 2012

The teabag congress must be loving this:

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said Thursday the Obama administration does not believe the 14th Amendment gives the President the ability to ignore the debt ceiling, Reuters reported.

Meanwhile President Obama…

…says he won’t negotiate under any circumstances. And his top advisors say he’s adamant on the point — not just because of the current impasse but to take hostage taking over the national debt off the table for good.

Without the 14th Amendment, the President’s leverage is rooted in depending on the on the goodwill and common sense of the Lunatic Party. So what is the deal? The teabag Congress is just going to get all rational all of a sudden just on it’s own.

…coming off a big loss on taxes….with a weak speaker that can’t even broker a deal to pay a lunch tab. Yeah. That is going to happen.

About the Author ()

Jason330 is a deep cover double agent working for the GOP. Don't tell anybody.

Comments (11)

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  1. puck says:

    I think the President’s political instincts are correct. As appealing as executive workarounds on the debt limit are, I think it would turn public opinion against him.

  2. pandora says:

    The word lunatic has been stricken from Federal Law.

    The word “lunatic” will be stricken from federal law under legislation that passed the House on Wednesday and is headed to President Obama for his signature.

    The Congressional action is the latest effort to remove language from federal law that has become outdated or is considered demeaning. Two years ago Congress took out references to “mental retardation.”

    “The term ‘lunatic’ holds a place in antiquity and should no longer have a prominent place in our U.S. code,” said Representative Robert C. Scott, Democrat of Virginia, shortly before the 398-to-1 vote in the House.


    The lone “no” vote was cast by Representative Louie Gohmert…

    Louie Gohmert obviously doesn’t want his lunatic condition cut from his health insurance.

    What a lunatic!

    As to the point of your post… I’m not sure how this will play out. It’s interesting to watch.

  3. jason330 says:

    “I think it would turn public opinion against him.”

    Wrong. The public doesn’t care about executive workarounds. (See: George W. Bush’s & standing with the public.)

    Also, During the campaign, the President’s popularity always spiked when he took a combative stance toward the lunatic party.

  4. cassandra_m says:

    I don’t see these messages as conflicting. If the GOP is thinking they can take hostages over the debt ceiling, it looks to me like Obama is saying no. He told the Business Roundtable this AM that “he won’t be playing that game”.

    Can he hold to that? Don’t know. Letting the GOP trash the place so we end up with more credit downgrades would be tough to just watch.

  5. jim center says:

    We can now definitely associate the word “lunatic” with a picture of Louie Gohmert! I’ll submit it to Wikipedia today.

  6. cassandra_m says:

    According to Greg Sargent it looks like Obama told the Business Roundtable that he wasn’t playing the hostage game because he has allies in this stance (and for a fix) among the CEOs at the Roundtable.

    This is pretty good, if true, but the last round I predicted that the GOP would come to their senses because their GOP business funders would force them to. That prediction was quite wrong and I’ve read that even those funders were stunned that the teajahdis let the default happen.

  7. jason330 says:

    You can lead a teajahdist election campaign to water, but you can’t get them to carry it.

  8. hmmmm says:

    He’s playing hardball, and you think he is setting himself up for failure. This is his end game. He is finally saying “I hold the cards, this is my ball game.” They are slowly realizing they can’t make demands, as if they are in the majority.

  9. jason330 says:

    I did hear one wingnut Senator (Chambliss?) on NPR this morning. He sounded nervous. BTW – the new catch phrase for paranoid wingnut freaks is “Obama is emboldened.”

  10. cassandra m says:

    I think that is meant to dogwhistle: “We TOLD you he is trying stage a coup and never leave office!”

  11. Jason330 says:

    Josh Marshall at TPM says what I said yesterday and predicts the mother of all government shutdowns.

    The President says under no circumstances will he negotiate a ransom for a debt ceiling extension as he agreed to do in 2011. It’s still not entirely clear to me what end game they envision. But they’re being very clear that this is their line in the sand. That ups the stakes dramatically and the President will have a hard time climbing down from that promise even if he needs or wants to.

    The White House has made it equally clear that the President and his advisors do not believe there’s a constitutional rabbit he can pull out of his hat to sidestep the whole issue. In other words, no ‘14th Amendment’ solution in which the President just blows through the debt ceiling and continues to sell bonds. They don’t believe the President has the power. And they also believe it’s not viable in market terms since, remember, it’s not simply a constitutional issue. It’s a market auction. You need people to buy this paper that John Boehner and company will be saying is illegitimate. And at what price will they buy? Arguing the merits is secondary. It’s clear they don’t think it’s a viable path.

    Next the Republicans. They feel and are cornered on rates. And they will give way … but seething. The right of the party will not accept anything less than another debt-ceiling hostage drama. Their leaders in Congress are promising one. The folks on the Hill are desperate (by several definitions) to refight the budget with the President on more favorable ground.

    It seems very difficult to conceive that they will simply give up the hostage taking option — and they’ve said as much.

    Add in to the mix that John Boehner is a weak leader of his party. Not only structurally weak, in terms of his position within the caucus, which he is, but personally weak. A strong leader might be able to pull back from the brink which will significantly damage the country and quite likely his own party. A weak leader lacks that power.

    Put these assumptions together and it’s a collision course.

    So let’s game it out.

    The President can say he won’t negotiate. But at some point the Treasury Secretary will run out of money and he’ll have to make an affirmative choice about what he will do if he won’t negotiate.

    By my reading of the constitution, the President has a primary obligation to honor the debt of the United States. Pragmatism points in the same direction. But as a constitutional matter the President is required not to default on the public debt. So the only thing the President can do — if he’s really not going to negotiate — is continue to service the existing debt and shut down big enough parts of the federal government to be able to fund it through existing tax receipts. And no, shuttering the national parks would by no means cut it.