Ezra Klein, demonstrating a yoga pose in which you bend over so far backwards that your head rests on your ass:
Which gets to the essential irony of this whole conversation: By taking the debt ceiling hostage in a bid to address the deficit, Congress could provoke the exact calamity it’s seeking to prevent.
If Congress wanted to address the deficit then they would have jumped at the spending cuts that Obama offered to resolve the budget crisis. They would put revenue on the negotiating table. Paul Ryan would have proposed a budget that did not cancel out its spending cuts (and then some) with a tax windfall for the rich.
A model in which Boehner’s Congress cares about the deficit does a terrible job of predicting what Boehner’s Congress has actually done. The simplest explanation for their behavior is that Boehner’s Congress wants to destroy Obama and the Democratic party, and deficit panic is one convenient tool to get that done. Everyone knows that a conversation about the Democratic policy agenda will help the Democrats. Our policies are quite popular, debt is on par with historic levels and people would feel more ambivalent about keeping the Bush tax cuts if they weighed them against tangible benefits like access to health care or better, more affordable rail transit. If we talk about nothing but the deficit then Obama’s hands are basically tied on policy and Republicans can spend their majority on relentless offense.
Other than acting like chocolate-smeared toddlers over tax policy, the other tell is how the GOP seems increasingly willing to blow up the economy over irrelevancies like abortion and the Affordable Care Act. In fact two key GOP demands that keep derailing budget negotiations, tax cuts and throttling the health care bill, both increase the deficit.
I agree that everyone deserves some benefit of the doubt, but at some point you look less like Larry King and more like Charlie Brown making one more run at that football.