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'Temporary, Partial Government Shutdown': The New Frank Luntz Debt Ceiling Lie

Is our Village Media really so stupid, so full of their own punditry that they don't see what's happening before our very eyes? It seems so. Here's Sen. Club for Growth Toomey introducing this absurd concept the day after the so-called

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Is our Village Media really so stupid, so full of their own punditry that they don't see what's happening before our very eyes?

It seems so. Here's Sen. Club for Growth Toomey introducing this absurd concept the day after the so-called "fiscal cliff" deal was reached. In this interview, he leads off by saying "Republicans should be able to tolerate a 'temporary, partial government shutdown' in order to get what they want on the debt ceiling.

Um, no. Steve Benen caught this right away after John Cornyn echoed the stupidity in a Thursday op-ed. Here's what Cornyn said in an op-ed that Matthew Yglesias rightly called "Orwellian":

It may be necessary to partially shut down the government in order to secure the long-term fiscal well being of our country, rather than plod along the path of Greece, Italy and Spain. President Obama needs to take note of this reality and put forward a plan to avoid it immediately.

Benen's retort:

Just at a surface level, this is ridiculous -- to prevent possible trouble in the future, Cornyn intends to cause deliberate trouble now? But even putting that aside, I'm not sure if the senator understands the nature of the controversy. Failing to raise the debt limit -- that is, choosing not to pay the bills for money that's already been spent -- doesn't just "partially shut down the government," it pushes the nation into default and trashes the full faith and credit of the United States.

Toomey seems to think we can just stop paying some bills and pay others in order to stave the wolves off at the door. He's wrong, of course. Let's not forget that the last debt ceiling standoff cost us one rating agency ding which didn't result in any real penalties. The same would not be true of a second occurrence.

Republicans are trying to confuse people by conflating the budget continuing resolution and the sequester with the debt ceiling. Sadly, they will succeed if our reporters don't start correcting the intentional misimpression. It's clear that Frank Luntz has given Republicans their talking points and they are running with them.

It's the job of Republicans to obfuscate and confuse the issues. It's the job of the press to make the facts clear, just as Steve Benen did in his post on Friday. That means that David Gregory, Howie Kurtz, George Stephanopoulis and the rest of the Villagers cannot continue to simply let these threats of a 'partial, temporary government shutdown' be conflated with the debt ceiling increase, which has nothing to do with ongoing, already appropriated spending.

Here are your talking points, Villagers, from someone who is not Frank Luntz:

  1. Failure to raise the debt ceiling will blow Republican hopes of spending cuts out of the water, because interest rates will immediately rise. In other words, failing to raise the ceiling will place the United States in the same position as Greece and other European countries as the United States becomes awash in higher interest rate payments.
  2. The debt ceiling and the budget resolution are NOT the same and should not be treated the same.
  3. The sequester and the budget resolution are negotiable; the debt ceiling is not.

Hammer at the facts instead of letting opinion govern the debate.

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