This is a political post.
I don't think I've ever played "Chicken".
For those who think that MTV's Jackass invented stupid things, long before cable TV people did stupid things for fun, not to see if they could get a reality show franchise and a movie deal. And one of the stupid games they invented was a game called "Chicken". The idea is fairly simple - I get in a car, You get in a car, we drive at each other at top speed threatening a head on collision, first one to veer off...er...loses? How deciding to live was losing I never quite grasped. And since my understanding of the best way to "win" this game was to show up drunk and toss the steering wheel out the window, and ties usually ended with ambulance rides, I never was really too big on it.
Oddly, that now segues into the current issue with the Federal Debt Limit.
A quick aside. It is NOT, as Rep. Bohner tried to make it the other day, the Obama's Administration's debt limit. The House of Representatives, of which Bohner is in control, creates a budget which the Executive branch is then directed to administer. The raising of the federal debt limit usually happens so that the President can carry out those budget instructions. So it's not like Obama is asking for money to put a swimming pool on the North Lawn, or add spinning rims to the Presidential limo, he's asking Congress for money they already told him to spend! Which is kinda why every other time in the past 100 years the limit has needed to be raised, there really wasn't a question. Congress is in reality only authorizing the the Executive branch to borrow the money to do those things Congress already told it to borrow the money for.
So the other day, when Sen. Mitch McConnell not only took his foot off the gas, he started screaming "Turn you fool" as the grill of the other car racing towards him suddenly became legible, and it piqued my interest. I wanted to wait to talk about it because I was fairly certain he'd be vilified by his party for even suggesting anything other than a political beheading of the "time traveling dictator socialist" President we elected. And sure enough, the idea of just ceding the whole thing to the President was shot down. The Republican establishment have put themselves in a corner, and the only way out is going to cause a lot of pain. To at worst everybody, at best to just themselves. The leadership entered the negotiations with a self imposed no wiggle room they knew would be political gamesmanship, but apparently forgot to tell the newly elected Tea Party members the whole plan. The new guys believed the cover story. Now, if the leadership agrees to anything the President might suggest, they're going to shoot themselves in the foot with their Tea Party base. That or drive the country off a cliff trying to prove they're right.
Which has allowed Batman Obama to pull a little political jujitsu.
Prez: You want 2.4 trillion in cuts, how about 4 trillion?
Prez: But you gotta give me something.
Repubs: But I can't give you anything.
Prez: Okay, I've met you more than halfway, hell technically I'm standing behind you.
Repubs: Er... can we just have the 2 trillion?
How do you blame the man that wanted to give you more than you asked for, for not giving you what you wanted? And worse, the Grand Plan the President has proposed show that he is working hard to make something happen even to his detriment. And if everything goes to hell because of this, as the President has been saying for the past few weeks, the question becomes why didn't you listen?
Worse, a lot of conservatives are trying to sell the story that a government shutdown wouldn't be a bad thing. Minnesota has been shutdown for almost two weeks and the world hasn't exploded. But Minnesota ain't the whole US of A. That Coors is about to pull all its product from the state in a licensing issue it can't clear up because the state is closed is only the tip of the iceberg. Minnesota doesn't cut Social Security checks or pay Veteran's Benefits.
Moody's has already issued a warning about the credit rating, Treasury notes are edging up meaning the US is going to have pay a higher interest rate on the money when they decide to let folks borrow again, and the Republican base...er, the markets, are getting edgy. Meaning the people who actually pay for the Republican campaigns might not be so willing to ante up if the party has started to edge more to towards ideology than the balance sheet.
Then Obama dropped the bombshell. It was a Batman Obama move if I ever saw one.
"This may bring my Presidency down."
A man with nothing to lose is a dangerous man. With that statement, the nuclear option might be back on the table. Damned if they do, damned if they don't. And, if the Republicans want to futz around until the 2012 elections trying to impeach the man who took a metaphorical bullet for the world economy (they don't have the votes) instead using that time working to improve the US economy or create jobs, well, they will end up in no better position. And that might play right into Obama's hands as well. All he's got to do is pull it off.
Giving up the Presidency to save the world economy? He might have earned the Noble Prize after all.