Posts Tagged ‘debt ceiling’

Three cheers for Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Byron York of Fox News, and for Rachel Maddow of MSNBC

August 13, 2011

Who would have thought that Fox News and MSNBC could raise us out of our funk over the hyper-partisan media and their destructive influence on political discourse in America?

First, Fox:  As hosts of the Republican Presidential debate Thursday Fox might have been expected to throw fat pitches to the favored candidates. But reporters Bret Baier, Chris Wallace, and Byron York* would have made the legendary Martha Rountree—creator of Meet the Press and no gentle tosser of fat pitches—proud.

Chris Wallace asked Gingrich about his entire campaign staff resigning, then asked Herman Cain about his claim that “communities have the right to ban Muslims from building mosques.” Byron York asked Bachmann to explain her statement that she was following biblical guidance to “Be submissive. Wives, you are to be submissive to your husbands.”

And Baier may have settled the 2012 Presidential contest when he asked the candidates to raise their hands if they would walk away from a deal to balance the budget with a ten-to-one ratio of spending cuts to tax increases. I haven’t seen hands shoot up so fast since I asked in a staff meeting who could use my tickets to Sunday’s Redskins game. Every single candidate claimed absolute dedication to not raise ANY taxes, not even on the super rich, not even on Big Oil, not even on tax-exempt GE. And we know it because of Brett Baier.

And MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow turned away from hyper-partisanship to recognize the courage of four prominent Republicans who defied (more…)

Obama won the debt-ceiling battle, so Dems, quit whining and smile

August 4, 2011

The only people happy about the battle over the debt ceiling are the pundits, because it gives them an audience and an opportunity to display their insights. Oh, and people close to the President, because they know he won.

Months ago, when John Boehner and Mitch McConnell were assuring everybody that whatever happened they wouldn’t allow the nation to default, President Obama stated his position: he wanted a clean extension that would carry the country past the 2012 election. He didn’t ask for a tax increase on zillionaires, or a deficit reduction—these should be tackled aside from the debt ceiling increase, which after all is only needed to allow the United States to pay its obligations, every dollar of which had been authorized by the Congress.

But Boehner and McConnell couldn’t control their members, especially the Tea Party members who wanted to use the debt ceiling as a bludgeon to smash government. The ceiling had been raised without controversy dozens of times before under Presidents and Congresses of both parties. The Republican threat was a repudiation of ethics, duty, and the Constitution. Still, the threat came.

In the end, and just in the nick of time, the President got what he had asked for: a clean bill that simply raised the limit enough to carry the country past the 2012 election.

You could be confused by the words about a super-committee to identify trillions in savings, or about triggers to force cuts. Here are the facts: (more…)

Republicans defy ethics, duty, and the Constitution as they bargain over raising the debt ceiling

July 4, 2011

Republican opposition to raising the national debt ceiling calls for a stronger word than just ‘unethical.’ Irresponsible? Ugly? Dishonest? Maybe even unconstitutional, since the Fourteenth Amendment states, in Section 4,

“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.”

The Republicans are trying to frame the argument as one of big government vs small government. But that’s false. The question is, does the government meet its obligations, all of which were authorized by law, that is, by Congress, in accordance with the Constitution. Every dollar of obligation was accrued in accordance with Congress’s direction; every government bond, every social security payment, every soldier’s pay, every bullet purchased…you get the idea.

House Speaker John Boehner has said that of course the debt ceiling would be raised, but now seems to be going back on that position to accommodate some in his caucus who have no sense off duty, no responsibility to govern.

If the Republicans continue questioning the public debt they’re inviting, in the words of The Economist, “ incalculable consequences for the world economy as well as America’s…That strikes some Americans as nothing less than blackmail.”

If the President continues to play their game he’ll be giving in to their blackmail and will have abandoned his responsibility to govern.


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