Well, here at least is a sign of sanity in the Republican leadership.
Mitch McConnell, the Senate Republican leader, says he “burst into laughter” Thursday when Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner outlined the administration proposal for averting the fiscal cliff. He wasn’t trying to embarrass Geithner, McConnell says, only responding candidly to his one-sided plan, explicit on tax increases, vague on spending cuts.
Geithner suggested $1.6 trillion in tax increases, McConnell says, but showed “minimal or no interest” in spending cuts. When congressional leaders went to the White House three days after the election, Obama talked of possible curbs on the explosive growth of food stamps and Social Security disability payments. But since Geithner didn’t mention them, those reductions appear to be off the table now, McConnell says.
Obama also wants an unlimited debt ceiling, or to be more accurate, no debt ceiling at all. Couple that with a future of no budgets and a president who knows he has hacked Congress into irrelevance by using Harry Reid as an adjunct of his West Wing, and you have a president who is offering a “deal” one would offer to a totally defeated and decimated foe.
The congressional Republicans don’t have a lot of leverage, but they’re not totally defeated and decimated. They do control the House and most governorships. The 2014 map favors a GOP takeover in the Senate. Obama did not win the kind of mandate that he is asserting.
If Obama keeps this up, we will go over the cliff. It will be his fault, but the media will not hold him to account.
This game is about destroying what’s left of the checks on Obama’s power, and destroying the Republican party at the same time. There’s no other way to explain why he would have Geithner offer such a one-sided, unserious deal. He doesn’t want a deal, and he isn’t bluffing. The president wants to wreck the US economy so that he will have the chance to fundamentally transform it.
McConnell et al have to finally figure out what they’re dealing with and go on offense against him. If they don’t, he’ll either squeeze them into making a deal that their base will hate, or he will roll us over the cliff while they take all of the blame. Win or die.