Rather than analyze every Republican tack and jibe on the debt ceiling, I would just point out that they seem to have a different message every day. Sometimes two or three. On the rare occasions that Boehner looks ready to shake hands, Grover Norquist or Eric Cantor or Jim DeMint will step in and torpedo it. Meanwhile Obama has said the one thing over and over again: he will concede a lot but he won’t concede everything. People can tell the difference, for what that’s worth.
Republicans have no idea what to do. The business base has no doubt phoned with their concerns by now, but if GOP even baby steps towards a deal the tea party idiots will eat them alive.
How do you defuse that situation? Search me. It looks like the party has arrived at a truly existential moment – it has to decide who is in charge, and halfway measures won’t do. Does the party serve wealthy people, who mostly want low taxes and stability, or does it serve tea party anarchists? The issue here is quite similar to the GOP dilemma on immigration in that the party utterly depends on two factions whose demands are not just misaligned but diametrically opposed. The Chamber of Commerce not only wants but in fact depends on undocumented immigrants for more jobs than most people realize, while redneck racists will do almost anything to clean the brown people out of their towns and states. With the most passionate and irreconcilable parties in fight both on their side the GOP cannot address the status quo in any way without serving one and shafting the other.
As recently as the mid-Bush administration Republican initiatives still served the CoC at least as much as they catered to racist bubbas. Can you imagine that now? Of course you can’t. Leading edge GOP policies like Arizona’s SB1070 and the Georgia law that left their unpicked fruit harvest to rot make it look an awful lot like angry, stupid bubbas have a solid grip on the steering wheel.
Boehner and his business lobby could still rally and put armaggeddon back in snooze mode for a few more months. If they do it would count as one hell of an upset against a raging ‘roided-up faction that has won every intra-party battle so far.
Sometimes I should read my own damn blog. Clearly DougJ is more optimistic than I am about Mitch McConnell’s latest idea. McConnell still needs to win over Eric Cantor and I’m not as confident at DougJ that it will happen. YMMV.