Let’s Make a Deal … Or Not

John Boehner was not dealing with Monte Hall on daytime TV.  He lost the budget battle because of his own incompetence. 


 The Republican “leadership” in DC has finally completed what some people refer to as “El Foldo.”  The capitulation occurred in the last few hours, as many people expected.  This writer hoped against the record of past behavior that somehow John Boehner and company would fine a spine and stand firm.  It did not happen, possibly because Boehner and company simply didn’t understand two things.  The first was the relative positions of the parties and the second was how to just say “NO.” 

It can all be reduced to simplest terms as follows:  Obama wanted something; he wanted to have the government funded and the debt ceiling raised.  Perhaps there were a few other things, but these were the central items.  In order to get those things he had to get Speaker Boehner to arrange a favorable vote in the House of Representatives.  Boehner was, therefore, in the position of control.  He should have said to Obama “can you meet my price?  Are you willing to pay in coin of the realm?”  If Obama can’t meet the price Boehner’s job is to say “no deal.” 

The problem was that John Boehner believed that he had to do a deal or something terrible would happen.  As a result, he approached the situation from a position of weakness, begging Obama to accept his terms, and making them better and better with each go-around.  Obama kept saying “no.”  He said “no” based on the belief that he could get better terms by holding out and it turned out to be correct.  Boehner was totally wrong.  He DIDN’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING. 

Where John Boehner should have started was from a position of strength.  He should have made Obama sweeten the offer each time.  Again, it was a mistaken position and one he should never have considered.  He should have known better, but it seems that some folks never learn. 

Let’s look at the situation just a bit.  To begin with, if the debt ceiling was not raised the government would have a legal obligation not to default.  Of course, legal obligations mean nothing to Obama but, Wall Street has immense influence with DC, and would not take lightly to a default.  Therefore, the effects of a static debt ceiling would be much less tragic than many people suggested.  This is not to say that it would be a walk in the park, but the cost would be eminently bearable.  Government would have had to prioritize its payments and make do without borrowing more money to cover its habitual deficits.  Meanwhile, on the positive side, the Washington Spending Machine would be crippled and popular sovereignty would be able to reassert itself, along with state’s rights.  It would be the end of the big government blob because it has no money to spend. 

In the end, John Boehner and Mitch McConnell simply gave in and did not fight the good fight, because if they did, they would have won.  Those who think that the shutdown was not a good tactic were mistaken; if they had won, then it would have been the perfect tactic.  And in this instance, the only thing that prevented them from winning was either fear, lack of desire to win, or lack of intestinal fortitude.    

The debt ceiling should have been frozen years ago.  The Republican Party should have done it under George W. Bush.  At the time the Democrats were opposing the increase simply to be recalcitrant under the Bush administration.  It would have blind-sided the Democrats if the Republicans has defied Bush and did what was right.  Eventually, the debt bubble that the federal government has been building will implode and do tremendous damage while doing so.  It is better that we limit the damage by acting now rather than when it is too late. 

Meanwhile, Obama and his cronies are looking forward to more capitulations; probably on immigration, a carbon tax and who knows what other damaging proposals.  Consider and executive branch crippled by lack of debt financing and in chaos because of the need to deal with infighting over which department is to be funded and for how much.  There would be no time for dealing with new legislative agendas and Obamacare’s fiasco of a rollout would be another disaster heaped on the pile of bedlam at the same time.  What better way to bring down an incompetent administration and end its attempt to “fundamentally transform” America. 

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