Makes Them Feel Powerful
Watching the political birdie of the theoretical trillion dollar platinum coin being batted back forth is educational and intellectually fun, in a way, but still mere mental bubbles in our swirling political river soon to be utterly washed away by events, it’s never happening.
For good or ill the Obama political mentality and approach has always been one of extreme caution, especially anything to be perceived as overtly liberal or provocative. They adamantly refused to install solar panels on the White House despite years of pleading and prodding, far too Jimmy Carter hippie-ish, heavens no. The White House ignored the cannabis petition and referred the matter to Justice, which still leaves nothing but vague quotes, they hate the idea of being out front on this. A huge part of the entire Obama political sell has been the ability to get along and be above squabbles, the White House would never, ever be so divergent to conformity with a trillion dollar platinum coin.
In a sad way the idea represents a vacuum of leadership, everyone recognizes the first evolution of debt ceiling to be a terrible political failure desperately not to be repeated, yet nothing in the present or past Obama behavior remotely guarantees a good present outcome, petitions and various ideas furiously fly in any plausible to way to stop the Republicans. Past failures merely excite the radical Republican mind for future fights, as Digby of Hullabaloo accurately noted Republicans like the debt ceiling evolution, it grants them vastly more political power than they could ever hope to achieve in conventional channels.
Ezra Klein very astutely noted the already radical Republicans (give me a break, invoking the debt ceiling is pure hostage-taking and completely, purely radical behavior) would easily go berserk at the coin implementation and be given perfect political cover to do something even more destructive. The platinum coin enables the radical Republicans in their power game, it could easily backfire and won’t solve the core issue: stopping once and for all Republican radicalism over the debt ceiling.
That requires two pillar political elements: properly identifying the radical behavior in the press and baking it into conventional political wisdom, and then using that as perfectly legitimate leverage to raise the debt ceiling with zero conditions, just as it was for decades before. If that means waiting the Republicans out while they go berserk and inflict great harm on the Republic, so be it, it’s such a disastrous political path Republicans could never, ever hold it even for a week.
So absurdly simple and easy, yet so elusive. Why? The appalling American journalism corps will not pick up and cover the story of Republican radicalism, it’s been sitting there for over 2 years yet I know of only six who have stated the plain truth: Klein, Pareene, Kornacki, Froomkin, Mann and Ornstein. Six stewards of truth will not make a difference in a media environment of Fox News and endless nauseating chatter from fossils like Cokie Roberts and George Will. Certainly hasn’t yet, this is decidedly so.
Enough blogger stomach acid has been expended to fill an Olympic swimming pool pleading, cajoling, badgering, begging, petitioning, and bludgeoning Democratic leadership to bring this truth and inevitable fight to the forefront of their daily politics (until they do all we get is more failure and desperation like the platinum coin), but of course they haven’t done it. I can only guess, but I theorize the rank, impossible American media environment completely cows them, calling the Republicans out as the plain radicals they are would only get them status as bitchy cranks who have lost a significant grasp of calm reality. Hell I’ve watched this hesitation at work with bloggers, no wonder Democrats won’t take it on.
With every atom in my being I hope the Obama administration totally perceives the Polaris payload of political failure should they give in to Republican debt ceiling radicalism. Democratic Senators publicly state past capitulation was a mistake, they absolutely cannot go back on their word of alleged adamancy in not giving in, and of course the country cannot afford it, we cannot start the second Obama term with a nuclear political failure, it’s not an option.
The only option, as Klein correctly noted, is to publicly state Obama will never give in to Republican radicalism over the debt ceiling. If that means harm to the Republic, berserk Republicans, a viciously hectoring press and a dead dream of bipartisanship, well, think of the failure to Party, country and the little people, which would be infinitely worse.
Accept the trap of a lousy fight, identify the Republicans as radicals, and never give in for anything, not this time. That is the only possible debt ceiling path for the country.