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Why Does Obama Want a Debt Ceiling Fight?

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n2doc Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:25 PM
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Why Does Obama Want a Debt Ceiling Fight?
By Kevin Drum Thu Apr. 14, 2011 9:55 AM PDT

In the past, both Democrats and Republicans have used fights over the debt ceiling to embarrass the opposition party whenever it happened to be in power. Yawn. But they've never threatened to vote against raising the ceiling in order to extort goodies of one kind or another from the president. Obama, however, has indicated he's open to just this kind of extortion, and Republicans are eager to take him up on it. Jon Chait:

I don't really blame the Republicans for this, either. If Obama is going to begin by saying he'd like a straight vote on the debt ceiling but is willing to make policy concessions, what do you expect the Republicans to do? Keep in mind, the assumption that the Congressional minority can use the debt ceiling as a hostage to win substantive policy the president opposes is entirely novel. Obama has introduced this new development.

Jon calls this Obama's "insane hostage bargaining strategy," but I think we should at least admit the possibility that Obama is neither stupid nor insane. Sticking firmly to a negotiating position is hardly rocket science, after all, and all analogies to poker playing aside, it's hardly plausible that Obama doesn't get this. So surely the most likely explanation for his position is that he wants Republicans to make demands on him.

I don't know exactly why he wants this. Maybe he's itching for a fight. Maybe he thinks it will make Republicans look bad. Maybe he wants to cut spending but would rather give the appearance of having been forced into it. I don't know. But he's pretty obviously inviting Republicans to do this, not just stumbling into it accidentally. The only question is why.
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pnwmom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:29 PM
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1. This article is twisting what Obama said. n/t
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phleshdef Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 12:32 PM
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2. Considering how badly he punked them on the budget battle...
Edited on Thu Apr-14-11 12:33 PM by phleshdef
I mean, cmon. Here we have them claiming they got 78 billion in budget cuts when the reality was more to the tune of hundreds of millions, after all was said and done. The meme that President Obama is a huge concession giver is very inaccurate. The truth is, hes just really good at giving the illusion of concessions when the concessions themselves are trivial in the big picture. Even the tax cut fight is pretty trivial when you consider that he got a full year of unemployment extensions and all the middle class tax breaks out of it. And I'm fine with that if thats what it takes to move things ahead and still protect himself politically. He looks like he is being reasonable and voters like that.

People that write shit like this Kevin Drum have convinced themselves they are smarter than Barack Obama. People that take that bet have ended up losing time and time again.
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Apr-14-11 03:00 PM
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3. Because the Republican caucus will split
It divides the Wall Street GOP from the Teahadists, and he's going to enjoy every minute of it.
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