Obama’s tactical error in attempting to negotiate a “grant bargain” with Representative Boehner may be as fatal to our economy and his re-election as Fred Merkle’s “bonehead”play was to the 1908 Giants.
The president should have stuck with the hard and fast priciple that a clean debt ceiling is required. He should have addressed the nation early and often warning of the consequences and explaining the difference between the need to operate as a solvent nation and negotiating a budget for our future finances. He should have stuck by the princple that the debt ceiling was not subject to negotiation.
True, the Republicans stated there would be no increase in the ceiling without significant cuts. But the president should have warned of a veto and refused to permit such linkage.
At worst, he would demand a clean bill from the Senate and he would veto anything less emanating from the House. Then he could declare a national emergency and resort to the Fourteenth Amendment if he could not bully the House Republicans into reasonableness.
By using his weakest skill, negotiation, he gave credence to the Tea Party position that the debt ceiling was a convenient bargaining chip to achieve their regressive economic policies. That tactic is and always was economic blackmail by suicide. The pistol is pointed at ours and their heads. The president should have refused to participate in that game and instead highlighted the doom of the Republican party if they did.
It is not too late. He should demand a clean Senate Bill, and if the House does not deliver, claim an economic crisis and resort to the Fourteenth Amendment. And damn the lawyers!
Croton on Hudson New York
Jul 27 2011 - 1:18pm