Today on MSNBC, I noted that a debt default is inconceivable, and at the end of the day, Speaker John Boehner won’t allow it. To go over that cliff risks a global depression and Republican control of the House.
Either the majority of Boehner’s Republican caucus will have to see the light before the deadline, or Boehner will have to move without the majority of Republicans and pass a debt limit increase with mainly Democratic votes.
Boehner is not rushing to do this because it would risk an intra-party coup and the end of his speakership. But once the prospect of debt default presents an even bigger risk to his speakership, Boehner may be compelled to act rationally.
Because Boehner holds a Get Out Of Coup Free card.
A vote to oust a Speaker must be brought to the full House. In turn, a coup can only work if Republicans are unified, which they are not, or if Democrats help.
And Boehner has a better offer for Democrats: Keep me as Speaker and I’ll deliver immigration reform. Oust me and you’ll get nothing.
It’s not exactly the kind of dramatic move you would expect from a lifelong party hack like Boehner. But the Tea Party has foolishly put him in an otherwise untenable position. They are taking the economy hostage but putting the gun to their own head. And Boehner is not interested in political suicide.