The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Biden Debt-Ceiling Talks Collapse as Republicans Cantor, Kyl Walk Out

Posted on | June 23, 2011 | 9 Comments

Several weeks of Potemkin “bipartisanship” go down the drain as Vice President Joe Biden and Senate Democrats refused to agree to any debt-ceiling deal that didn’t include tax increases. Jon Kyl has not yet issued a statement, but Eric Cantor explains his exit:

[A]s it stands the Democrats continue to insist that any deal must include tax increases. There is not support in the House for a tax increase, and I don’t believe now is the time to raise taxes in light of our current economic situation. Regardless of the progress that has been made, the tax issue must be resolved before discussions can continue. Given this impasse, I will not be participating in today’s meeting and I believe it is time for the President to speak clearly and resolve the tax issue.

Let me explain what’s actually happening here: John Boehner and the GOP call the shots in the House — where it’s straight majority rule — but neither party can exercise such unilateral power in the Senate, where Democrats don’t have a veto-proof majority. Therefore, the White House would normally be expected to act as broker for a deal acceptable to both parties in Congress. However . . .

Obama’s gearing up his 2012 re-election campaign, and is therefore trying to paint Republicans into a box, to depict them as “extremist” and “irresponsible” if they don’t compromise with Democrats on a deal to increase the debt ceiling. And in this case, “compromise” means agreeing to a tax increase, which would be a 100% betrayal of the voters who gave Republicans the majority in last year’s mid-term election.

In other words, it’s a variation of the tactic by which Democrats in 1990 forced George H.W. Bush to agree to a tax increase, breaking his “no new taxes” pledge. And if Republicans let themselves be bamboozled that way now, they deserve to be defeated in 2012.


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