I guess the Compressional Republicans are feeling pretty good right now about their brinksmanship in the debt ceiling debate. At this snapshot of time, their extreme hard line message is resonating with majority of Americans, who do not seem to have a detailed understanding about the stakes of not raising the ceiling. No wonder Senator Mitch McConnell is out there blustering - insisting that Democrats must agree to "significant changes" in Medicare in exchange for raising the debt ceiling. The easy way to expose these guys to American public is to force them to caught up their plans in public instead of letting them hide behind their childish soundbites.
Jed pointed out how McConnell and his crazy band of Congressional Republicans are bluffing:
Obviously, Republicans are bluffing. Their financial backers would be furious if they refused to raise the debt ceiling and touched of a global economic crisis. So Democrats shouldn't take the GOP threats of economic terror too seriously.
Steve Benen lays out the options for both sides in light of McConnell’s predictable
GOP hooliganism "strategy":
That leaves Republican leaders with two choices to get what they want. Option #1: the GOP can agree to some tax increases and Pentagon cuts as part of a grand bargain with Democrats. Option #2: the GOP can threaten to destroy the economy, on purpose, unless Democrats give in to Republican demands on entitlements.
Guess which one the GOP prefers?
Neither McConnell nor Boehner have been willing to speak publicly about exactly what’s on the GOP’s ransom note, but that’s part of the game, too — they’re keeping things vague so they can wait and see how far Democrats will go to fill in the blanks.
With that in mind, the White House is also effectively left with two options. Option #1: tell Republicans there will be no deal and when the economy crashes, it will be their fault. Option #2: tell the GOP negotiations can proceed after Republican leaders start adding details to their own ransom note.
Aahaa. There is a reason I highlighted that second option. Follow me after the split.
Even the Politico, which is basically a house organ for the Congressional GOP, noted that Boehner is "dodging specifics on debt limit cuts":
What does Speaker John Boehner want out of the debt ceiling vote? It’s now unclear, as Boehner is avoiding any specifics, dodging questions three days after calling for “trillions” in cuts.
Here’s a snapshot: In a Thursday briefing with the Capitol Hill press corps, Boehner said he didn’t “want to tie myself down” on budget process reforms, refused to “lock myself into” a time frame for the trillions of dollars in savings he’s seeking. He declined to respond to whether tax increases and offsetting the debt limit hike are completely non-negotiable bargaining positions.
Now is the time for Democrats to put all out pressure and make Boehner and McConnell cough up the details on their planned cuts. Make them caught up the details on how they envision gutting medicare and other programs, and hang those around their necks. We have already seen how these guys can get easily flustered if you put a little pressure on them and force them to deal with facts.
Democrats need to keep pushing them to cough up their plans on how they want to cut the deficit. Make them spell out the details on their plan to gut medicare. Now is the perfect time to turn that heat up even more.