House GOP considering forcing US debt default, government shutdown

Quite an interesting piece in Politico yesterday about how GOP House Speaker Boehner may force a government shutdown in order to pander to the crazies who now run the Republican party:

House Speaker John Boehner “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,” said a top GOP leadership adviser. “We might need to do that for member-management purposes — so they have an endgame and can show their constituents they’re fighting.”

And it appears that Boehner is no longer in control of his caucus:

Starting Monday, Boehner will huddle with his leadership team to discuss his preliminary thinking on a spending strategy. A source who attended meetings to prepare for those private talks said GOP leaders are authentically at a loss on how to control members who don’t respond to the normal incentives of wanting to help party leaders or of avoiding situations — like default — that could be public relations nightmares.

Uh, we could have told you this was going to happen – we did tell you this was going to happen. The Republicans let their party be taken over by religious crazies a good decade, if not two, ago, and now they let it be taken over by fiscal crazies. And guess what? They’re proposing a lot of crazy.

Crazy in point: Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz, our own little Mormon Lindsey Graham, always so feisty and fey.

“For too long, the pitch was, we’ll deal with it next time,” said Rep. Jason Chaffetz, a conservative from Utah. He said GOP lawmakers are prepared to shut things down or even default if Obama doesn’t bend on spending. “No one wants to default, but we are not going to continue to give the president a limitless credit card.”

I’m sorry, but as Paul Krugman noted the other day, the President doesn’t pass budgets or appropriations bills. House Republicans like Jason Chaffetz do. The President only spends the money they give him. He can spend no more. so Chaffetz is actually upset that the President is spending the money that Chaffetz and his fellow House Republicans gave the President.

But don’t expect consistency from this crowd. Crazy doesn’t need logic.

Charles Pierce at Esquire has a great take on this (and some harsh words for the Politico story I linked to above):

In this installment, our intrepid gumshoes manage to pry loose quotes from various vandals and dumbasses in and out of the Republican House caucus, and in and out of government as well, to the effect that they have every intention of blowing up the American economy over the next few weeks if they don’t get absolutely everything they absolutely want. (There are drug gangs in Mexico who are more open to negotiations than these people.) The hero of the tale seems to be the embattled prince of Orange, John Boehner who, the authors tell us, may just have to agree to a government shutdown so that some of the angrier feral children over whom he presides won’t take flamethrowers to the classroom rather than take their afternoon naps….

Here you have “GOP officials” saying flat out that Boehner may have to agree to a government shutdown — which, it should be noted, but wasn’t in Politico, will affect the whole damn country — in order to placate an insane splinter of a faction of his party. Presented with a clear example of how the Republicans have become demented, and a clear example of how that dementia is a danger to the nation, an important story by anyone’s lights, Politico instead presents this information merely as a threat to the speakership of John Boehner, as though that’s all that’s at risk here. (This problem might have been solved if the two newshounds had talked to, you know, Democrats, but this is Politico, and y’all know better than that.)


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Hawk

    “Twould seem that the Republicans are exercising their right to practice FreeDUMB.

  • Naja pallida

    Nobody, even Krugman, has explained clearly how the platinum coin solution is any better than all the people that have been suggesting for years “Well, why don’t we just print more money to pay off the debt?” The results to inflation and currency markets would be completely unpredictable – even if it isn’t money that ever actually gets put into circulation. Seemed to me like a dumb idea from the get-go… and doesn’t even consider how other countries would see it as basically manipulating our currency. Not that currency manipulation is an uncommon thing, but other countries often rely on a strong dollar when they do so. What happens when they stop trusting that we’re able to keep the dollar stable? Quantitative easing akin to giving the government an enema with a fire hose.

  • Naja pallida

    My point was that he seems to like being irrelevant. He’s done absolutely nothing over the last couple of years to attempt to shirk off his irrelevance. He has sided with the Tealiban every single time one of these games of chicken comes up. It’s really quite sad, because he could very easily become one of the most popular members of Congress in years by being the linchpin in some serious legislation… but he chooses not to, for fear of being challenged by the crazies he’s spent years enabling.

  • NCMan

    I didn’t suggest Boehner would be irrelevant. I said that Boehner could make the tea-partiers irrelevant simply by working with democrats.

  • Naja pallida

    Yeah, but Boehner is terrible at his job and realizes he gets well paid – whether irrelevant or not.

  • Naja pallida

    Just a normal day in the Beltway La La Land. Republicans get elected on a platform that government doesn’t work, and is wasting your tax payer dollars, and then gets in office and proves it beyond a shadow of a doubt. It will just be another opportunity to prove that John Boehner is a terrible Speaker of the House, and that Republicans don’t understand simple economics or how our budgets work.

  • NCMan

    well, as long as there are 218 votes without ever requiring any tea-party votes, they can be made to be irrelevant.

  • olandp

    “… until the tea-partiers become responsible adults.”

    Never gonna happen.

  • olandp

    The Republicans will not be happy until they completely destroy this country. They almost managed it with the eight years of a CEO president, GWB. As far as the idiot with the sign, this is America, if he doesn’t like it HE should leave. Why don’t they all just go and start their own country somewhere else. When they are successful at employing the philosophy of Ayn Rand, they will be able to say, “We told you so.”

    We would be able to enjoy life without morons until the space time continuum folds back upon itself and up does indeed become down and Ayn is proved right.

  • Guest

    This is insane. If Boehner had any leadership qualities at all — and it’s clear he has none — he’d do something historic and strike a deal with Pelosi for control of the House with fusion leadership. Hell, he’d have 85% of the American people on his side if he did it. Instead, the guy’s pathetic.

  • colleen2

    “may need a shutdown just to get it out of their system,”

    Good lord. He talks about them like they’re two year olds.

  • MyrddinWilt

    No, that is why the platinum coin option was bad politics. It was an easy fix to one symptom of GOP extremism, not a cure. Without a cure the GOP would only be onto their next hostage taking drama. The only cure here is for the GOP to be forced to back down and stop taking the country hostage.

    They say that the federal government accounts receivable system only allows them to pay bills in the order received, there is no prioritization like the GOP is demanding. But It would not surprise me if the GOP found that their donors and districts were targeted.

    Last time was different because Obama wanted to force some spending cuts through. But as he points out, the budget is now close to being in balance. If it wasn’t for the interest on the Bush era wars and the fiscal crisis created by GOP deregulation, the budget would be back balanced. They don’t want to make the cuts in the places the Sequester demands but they do want to cut.

    If the militarism budget was reduced to Clinton levels, there would be absolutely no debt problem at all. But increasing spending on the military while cutting taxes were all part of the GOP strategy of smashing up the economy so that the country couldn’t afford a welfare system and the plutocrat class they work for would be able to get labour at sweat shop rates.

  • TomL

    So, the GOP has “a way of shutting that whole thing down?” We should have known. I guess that tells us what they are doing to the country.

  • NCMan

    Congress is currently made up of 201 dems and 234 republicans. Boehner needs to teach the far-right tea-partiers that they will not control his caucus when they don’t make up over 50% of the republicans. Yes, I know many republicans FEAR a possible primary. But, if Boehner put a clean bill raising the debt ceiling up for a vote ALL 201 dems would vote for it. He would only need 17 republicans who don’t fear a primary to also vote for it for it to pass. He just needs to keep doing that until the tea-partiers become responsible adults.

  • avahome

    Here’s the deal……I don’t get my check, you don’t get yours! Does the military get theirs?

  • RepubAnon

    This is why the President should have kept the platinum coin on the table, as something to keep the crazies in check. Now, the party that says “Government doesn’t work” gets to play to their base by shutting down the government. Remember how the Republicans in California kept shutting down the government until their gerrymandered districts were taken away?

    I’ve also got to wonder whether President Obama wants to play the “Republicans made me do it” card.

    For me, I say the President immediately stops making farm subsidy payments and defense contract payments, and uses California-style “warrants” instead. Especially for folks in Republican districts.

  • UncleBucky

    That the Republicans DID IT. And by doing so, the GOP and the rest of the Country is in tatters.

    Thanks, but no thanks, Saint Ronald Reagan.

  • mwdavis

    A workable strategy for “members who don’t respond to the normal incentives of wanting to help party leaders or of avoiding situations — like default — that could be public relations nightmares.”

    Ignore them and work on bipartisan cooperation with the Democrats in the House.

    GASP! Never! Only Democrats have to be bipartisan.

  • josephebacon

    Make no mistake about it, the default and shutdown are coming. I’m just waiting to hear the howls from people when the Social Security checks don’t come.

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