Monday, October 7, 2013


It's been a week now. A week. If this plays out like it did in '96, then we've got two weeks to go.

Of course, unlike 1996, we don't have two weeks. The debt limit runs out in ten days and after that, we'll be entering some dicey territory. As I've mentioned before, Obama will either have to cave (terrible idea), use his executive authority to mint a $1 trillion commemorative coin (good idea, if a bit Bond villainish and liable to lawsuits), simply declare the debt limit unconstitutional (okay idea, liable to lawsuits), play accounting tricks with Treasury bills (not a bad idea, invulnerable to lawsuits and probably the simplest to execute), or default on the debt (worst of all possible ideas, hello new Great Depression).

In that link above, John Boehner, Speaker of the House, is refusing to pass a funding bill unless the Democrats negotiate, and if the Democrats negotiate he's refusing to compromise. Man, if the parties were reversed the Republicans would be crying treason right now... and they'd be right.

Fortunately, it sounds like Boehner's bluffing, and his allies say he's prepared to pass a clean bill with Democratic votes. He'd be violating the Hastert Rule in doing so (an intra-Republican thing that says they'll only pass a bill with a majority of Republican votes) but honestly the Hastert Rule is so much horseshit anyway.

However, bluffing or not, there's some good news coming out of this. The guy that's responsible for this whole mess, Ted Cruz, is now hated by all his colleagues in the first stage of what's a long-overdue GOP civil war, and in the midst of that impending civil war, the GOP will probably lose the House in 2014.

That last link is the most important one. Keep in mind that this is early days. If the Republicans actually let us default on the debt, even if Obama can find some workaround, it's going to throw just about all the swing voters everywhere into the Democratic column. The attack ads everywhere will say "Republican Candidate X supported Ted Cruz' efforts to cause a global economic meltdown" and there's no way out of that unless Democratic Candidate Y goes door to door punching babies.

The voters gave us a Republican House in 2010, and by also giving enough Republicans keys to statehouses, they let them redistrict enough House seats to make it hard for the Democrats to take it. The Dems won 5 million more votes for the House, nationwide, than the Republicans did, but are still in the minority. So the Dems will have to win 10 million more votes, 15 million, before they can reclaim the House... but that looks like it's gonna happen now. After four years of Republican misrule in the House, they'll hand the keys back over to Pelosi's Democrats, who will then be able to close out Obama's last two years with more landmark progressive legislation hopefully. Maybe some kind of act providing undocumented immigrants with a pathway to citizenship, maybe something dealing with carbon control, maybe even an actual budget. All I know for sure: it'll beat the pants off of the last four years.

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