Tuesday, June 28, 2011

A Little More on the Debt Ceiling Fight

A short post. Heading to bed.

Kabul got the news cycle this evening, so not much on TV news about the debt fight. Lots of blog activity. Tentative conclusions from my vantage point:

1. Republicans are convinced the President will cave. Many, possibly most Democrats are as well. Conservative Marc Thiessen wrote in yesterday's Washington Post that the President cannot let the country go into default, so the Republicans hold all the cards. Democrats worry that Obama is too much of a peacemaker, that he wants peace not war, and that he will not insist on revenue increases.

2. The newest twist from John Kyl today in the Senate is that Republicans just won't vote on the debt ceiling, letting the Democrats, at least in the Senate, pass it, and then pound them in coming elections for voting to increase debt without appropriate cuts.

3. Nevertheless, I conclude that Obama will not cave, that revenues will be in the agreement, or no deal. Republicans will be pressured by Wall Street to add revenues. They will refuse. We will approach August 2 with everyone staring at the abyss. And on August 2 or 3, Obama will order Treasury to keep writing checks to bondholders. Republicans will be apoplectic, and might even move towards impeachment. Obama will respond that, as President, his duty is to protect the country, and he will continue to do that and follow his chosen course until agreement on a fair deal is reached. I like Obama's odds in this fight. The lone cowboy, defending his people against a gang of attacking thieves.

The true odds of something like this happening - one in ten. But it's not impossible. Republicans are playing a dangerous game, and I think they have not learned the rules of all great generals: Never disrespect your adversary. Know him better than you know yourself. Republicans have not done this. They have little or no idea who our President really is.

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