The White House insists that it is absolutely, positively not going to cave or indeed even negotiate over the debt ceiling — that it rejected the coin option as a gesture of strength, as a way to put the onus for avoiding default entirely on the GOP.
Truth or famous last words? I guess we’ll find out.
I’m sure the White House believes this and it’s possible they will stare down the GOP this time on the debt ceiling and the GOP will back down. But after all that’s come before the GOP has every reason to believe it will be the White House that blinks. We all do. It’s almost impossible for me to believe that they will allow Armageddon (for real, this time, honest) to happen on their watch.
But as I wrote earlier, the truth is they’re being very cute about all this and I don’t think this is the play at all. It’s not a coincidence that the sequester can was kicked down the road to ripen right after the debt ceiling. It means that while we are all watching the debt-ceiling showdown at the OK Corral, it’s entirely possible the real negotiation will be happening on the separate sequester track. And that’s unlikely to end well for the people. These wingnuts are hungry — they feel they got robbed in the last go-round and they believe they were promised some major spending cuts in the next one.
It’s a good thing for the country if the White House is able to stop this ongoing debt ceiling hostage situation. And maybe the Republicans want to stop it too, who knows? For all we know, Biden and McConnell prayed at the portraits of Tip ‘n Ronnie and worked it all out in advance. Certainly it can’t have entirely escaped the GOP leadership that they are playing with fire. But my read on the House crackpots is that they really want to make the President cry Uncle after that last one. Whether they have the nerve to cause an economic earthquake in order to do that is another question but I honestly don’t know that they care whether anyone “blames” them. Their voters will support their actions.
So, if I had to guess, they’ll be given some major inducements in the sequester to try to make sure that doesn’t happen. I also suspect they would have to be things that will make the left side of aisle scream with pain. But would that even be enough?