Republicans are in tough guy mode. Lots of chest thumping and trash talk going on as they, once again, thrust the debt ceiling onto center stage. The howling is quite intense, and, as usual, our awesome media will latch onto the hysterics with a passion that would make a Twilight fan blush. My advice to Dems… Ignore it.
Why should the Dems ignore Republicans? Because, just like their Presidential candidate, Republicans won’t put the meat on the bone. Exhibit A:
From a Mitch McConnell statement Wednesday:
The President claims to want a balanced approach to solve our problems. And now that he has the tax rates he wants, his calls for ‘balance’ mean he must join us in our efforts to achieve meaningful spending and government reform. We have an immediate opportunity to act: the debt ceiling. Washington’s credit card has reached its limit again, and the Senate majority must act on legislation early in February—rather than waiting until the last minute, abdicating responsibility and hoping someone else will step in once again to craft a last-minute solution for them. Once the Senate passes bipartisan legislation, we can conference with the House on a solution. But this time the entire Senate must have an opportunity to act.
Emphasis added. Not only are Republicans closing the door on more tax revenues than they already provided Obama. And not only are they demanding unpopular spending cuts as their price for raising the debt limit. If you read between the lines, they’re actually insisting that Democrats put together the spending cuts themselves.
We find ourselves in familiar territory. Republicans want cuts, but they don’t want to name or propose them. They want the Democrats to own them, and then they’ll run against those cuts in 2014 – Just like they did last year with their “Obama is cutting Medicare!” campaign. Remember that? Good times.
So… what happens if Democrats ignore Republicans on the debt ceiling? There are several possible outcomes. First, there’s going to be a lot of shrieking from Republicans, but people are use to that because if everything’s an outrage, then nothing’s an outrage. Keep in mind that the shrieking will be about the Dems not doing the GOP’s dirty work in regards to Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.
On Morning Joe right now a Republican Senator is calling for Democrats to propose cuts in order to increase the debt ceiling. In typical fashion, he didn’t propose any specific cuts. He simply said that if President Obama wants the debt ceiling raised then he will have to pick what’s going to be cut. There’s leadership, for ya.
So, if the Democrats don’t propose cuts, then… what? The Republicans will suddenly get specific? I doubt it, but it would be great if they did because then we could actually have a debate that moved beyond Republicans yelling freedom!
I realize that ignoring Republicans isn’t easy. Just like a toddler’s temper tantrum we are tempted to do anything to shut them up.
But, consider this… what if we did ignore the Republican temper tantrum? What if Democrats refused to debate the debt ceiling in any way, shape or form? Would Republicans simply refuse to raise the debt ceiling? They would own that, and if there’s one thing you can count on when it comes to Republicans it’s that they refuse to own anything.