I’ve been thinking about this insane government shutdown and all of its moving parts. Let’s be clear, there are a lot of moving parts, despite all of the memes boiling the situation down to one thought.
Yes, the GOP is essentially trying to subvert democracy and the democratic process by trying to blackmail the president into reversing everything the American people voted for. They want to disappear the Affordable Care Act, despite the fact that America collectively voted for it twice. They want to implement the draconian Ryan budget, despite the fact that America said, “NO!” to Paul Ryan and his budget. Something that very few people are talking about, is the fact that democrats are culpable in all of this. Obama established a pattern of behavior when he negotiated over the debt ceiling a couple of years ago, and congressional democrats didn’t help this time around by presenting a budget whose cuts exceed those in the Ryan budget. It’s a little difficult to place all of the blame on republicans for trotting out an insane tactic that has worked well for them in the past. There’s plenty of blame to go around here.
That said, the lion’s share of the blame here lies with a small group of whackadoos that represent roughly 1/4 of the house GOP; the tealiban. The insane ones who are so severely ideologically driven, that on any given day, they can’t see past today. They’re the nutters you’ve seen on TV for the past two days, who despite a giant mountain of evidence, are channeling a doped up Charlie Sheen and claiming they’re “WINNING!”
They are unfortunately being enabled by a pathetic John Boehner, who refuses to put a vote on a clean CR (continuing resolution) on the floor. A clean CR would pass, since there are enough republicans in the house who would vote with with democrats to pass it. Boehner is suffering from the same delusion that Obama suffers from; he thinks that he can get these people to like him and to work with him. He can’t. These people despise him and they always will, just like republicans despise Obama and always will. They’re just not into you, and they never will be. Trying to appease these morons won’t get Boehner any further than it got Obama, and attempting to do so will present a slew of new problems every single day.
But fear not, Bitchy has not one, but two solutions to end this. The first solution lies with Obama. This whole debt ceiling situation is about allowing the treasury to print up more bonds to sell in order to raise the cash to pay the debt. Most of you know this, but raising the debt ceiling doesn’t create more debt. It’s about giving the treasury the ability to pay for the existing debt. Don’t confuse the debt with the deficit. The debt refers to all of the money that we owe. It includes spending from a decade or two ago, and the interest on that spending. The deficit refers to the debt to revenue ratio for any given year. So raising the debt ceiling is about nothing more than selling more bonds. I think the president should just go ahead and instruct the treasury to print up more bonds to sell. Congress will likely challenge this in the courts, and it will invariably end up with the Supreme Court. I believe that a strong argument for ending the process of having to raise the debt ceiling can be made under the fourteenth amendment. Section four states;
The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned.
In other words, once congress approves the spending that created the debt, that debt is no longer in question. I honestly believe that this is a winning argument that would put an end to this insanity forever without taking any constitutional power away from congress.
My other solution is going to sound batshit crazy, because it relies on congressional republicans taking action. There is a way for the less crazy republicans to end this shutdown and neuter the tealiban forever. If seventeen of them went to Boehner and let him know that they were going to switch parties, thereby turning the house over to the democrats, they could force Boehner to stand up to the extra, super turbocharged crazies. I’m pretty sure that Boehner would fold as soon as the words “Speaker Pelosi” made it into his little pea brain. If the threat doesn’t do it for him, they should switch parties just to end the shutdown. This would give Nancy Pelosi, as Speaker Of The House, the power to put a clean CR up for a vote. To my knowledge, there’s nothing to prevent congressional members from switching parties every day so they could always switch back as soon as that vote is taken.
I know how crazy this sounds, but it would solve a lot of problems for the GOP. They have to do something about the tealiban before that small minority blows up the whole party. Big thinkers in the GOP (I know, I know) should be able to see the long term gains in taking this kind of action. The tealiban has already cost the GOP both senate and congressional seats. They need to stop the bleeding now, before it snowballs. It will most definitely snowball since the nutters’ seats are completely safe due to the insane gerrymandering republicans did in 2010. So what’s basically happening, is that the nutters have all the job security in the world, and the less crazy are being forced to up the crazy or jeopardize their own seats. Something needs to be done to stop the bleeding, and republicans are the only ones that can do it.
Will republicans ever do this? Of course not. I haven’t completely lost my mind. It’s crazy, but it would work. Honestly, we’re in a place where the only way to fight extremism is with extreme measures like the ones I’ve suggested. I don’t see any way to stop the insanity for any length of time without extreme remedies being taken.