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Look What You Made Me Let You Force Me to Let You Do!

I don’t need to point out that Mitch McConnell’s plan for dealing with the imminent US debt crisis and consequent shut-down of the federal government is a total steaming pile. Others before me have (correctly) identified it as

(1)an act of ideology, placing proven failed economic policy ahead of good governance,
(2)an act of hypocrisy, seeking to blame democrats for a debt that is manifestly a product of right-wing economic ideology,
(3)the final act of a dishonest script, refusing to negotiate until all demands are met and no concessions admitted, and blaming the failure of compromise, or indeed any achievement at all, on the majority,
(4)an act of criminality, passing Congress’s explicit Constitutional mandate of responsibility over the budget to the White House,
(5)an act of desperation, seeking to do what is truly necessary without alienating his political base, after years of rhetoric encouraging that base to embrace self-destructive policy and accept no compromise, and above all,
(6)an act of cowardice, seeking to duck accountability for failing to deliver on promises that could only destroy the economy if delivered.

The complexity of the plan alone should send everyone’s alarm bells ringing: McConnell wants to write legislation denying the president power to adjust the budget, including a clause that, if the law is not passed, its negation shall be enacted, on the understanding that the president will veto the law, thus taking power to adjust the debt ceiling himself, after which Congress can draft a formal complaint at the president’s actions, which can be obstructed by the majority in the Senate and the minority in the House, thereby failing to achieve any consequences other than allowing Republicans to raise the debt ceiling while maintaining a fiction of refusing to raise the debt ceiling, yet simultaneously blaming Obama for the consequences of raising the debt ceiling, taking so long to do so, and hurting government services in the interim. That narrative is so transparently duplicitous, on so many levels, that even the teabaggers refuse to swallow it.

The only thing I have to add, a sentiment I haven’t seen but which deserves mention, is to remind everyone of the way war was declared in Iraq.

Then Republicans held the presidency and a majority in both houses. Democrats could nevertheless, by a slim margin in the Senate, block the declaration of war, another power strictly reserved for Congress in the Constitution. But Democrats couldn’t do so without being painted as weak on terror, Arab-lovers, and maybe even responsible for 9/11, in that heady “America against the world” atmosphere that reigned during Bush’s first years in office. In an act of dishonest, desperation cowardice, and the lot, Congress handed the authority to declare war to the president, thus providing cover for all those Dems who couldn’t be seen backing illegitimate war, but couldn’t bring themselves to stand up and do what’s right, either. And look how well that turned out.

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