Sunday, July 24, 2011

Debt Ceiling Poker

Once again I apologize for neglecting this blog. I was focused for some time on an ambitious project that's now, basically, complete.

Meanwhile I've been enjoying all the sturm und drang over raising the debt limit, which is playing out more or less as I'd predicted.

The Republicans finally caved as I knew they'd have to. Mitch McConnell, under extreme pressure, I'm sure, from his billionaire controllers, offered a plan that would have handed off the tough decision-making to Obama, correctly noting in a media interview that the Republicans have a lot more to lose over this battle than the Democrats. It's always been clear to me that the Dems are holding ALL the cards in this matter and the Republicans basically none. The only problem is: Obama can't play poker worth shit!

In a gaffe worthy of George Bush II, he even dared them to "call my bluff." Sorry, Barack, you call the other guy's bluff, you don't invite him to call yours. You want him to believe you are NOT bluffing. Sheesh, what a hopeless fool the President I voted for is turning out to be. Also, when the other player folds, you don't entice him to stay in the game by adding more money to the pot.

The game is up for the Republicans, but they know how to bluff and our President is clueless. Don't dare them to call YOUR bluff -- call THEIRS, you idiot!

At this point, the adults in the Democratic Party need to convince their boy wonder to go play a few rounds of golf and leave the Republican diehards to the hardened veterans. Surely someone in the Party (maybe Biden?) understands poker well enough to realize the other side has lost and all that's needed is a show of cards.

In short, what needs to be done is for the Democrats in the Senate to present a plain vanilla bill that simply raises the debt limit and NOTHING more. No more wheeling, no more dealing, no more offers hoping for counter-offers that are never ever offered. In other words all the Dems need do is invite their opponents to show their hand. Are they or are they not willing to raise the debt limit? That's ALL that's needed, just that one simple bill. It should have no trouble passing in the Senate, since the Dems have the majority and no Republican in his right mind would dare risk being held responsible for economic catastrophe by filibustering.

Once the bill is passed it's handed over to the House, which will be a moment of truth for the Tea Party. As I see it, there's no question as to the outcome. They will fold.

Wonderful, you say? Not really. Because the Democrats are in total disarray. It's unlikely any of them can see clearly enough to offer up the simplest and most effective solution. After all their failed attempts they will most likely go down to the wire with one lame offer after another, which is exactly what their opponents expect. Holding NO cards at all, the Republicans will continue to bluff, offering nothing in return ever. If the Democrats then hold out, and they might, the "disaster" will be upon us. Checks won't get mailed, the markets will tumble and -- just as with the TARP -- congress will have "second thoughts," the Democrats will act "responsibly" (what a laugh) and totally capitulate to all Republican demands. At that point, the debt limit will get raised. And that will be the death of the Democratic Party.

So long, suckers.


  1. Welcome back, Doc. Congratulations on a project completed!
    In keeping with the spirit of your usual posts here are my thoughts:
    I have been sort of wishing The Big O would call their bluff. Just say "OK, if you don't want to raise the debt ceiling alright". Then just stand back and watch what happens. The onus would be on them. Of course when the global economy crashes the blame will fall on Obama. But worse case scenario ...let the RepubliCons lose their money in the markets, let em give up THEIR salaries for a while, let them see the interest rates go up to 18% like in the Reagan years, let their constituents lose their social security checks and watch the global economy fall to pieces as China forecloses on Americas' big house (of cards). Maybe when the smoke clears we can rebuild the country from scratch. Of course the RepubliCons would never let that happen. They have everything to lose. I wish Obama was more of a gloves off street fighter. In the meantime I am sitting here watching the Niikkei sink with every passing minute. Oh well, as Dylan says, “When you got nothing, you got nothing to lose”. Kat

  2. Obama is doing what he believes in. He's been saying he wants to "reform" (destroy) Social Security since the Iowa primary in 2007. He's been dying for a "grand bargain" (destroying Social Security plus Medicare) since forever. His inaugural was all about "shared sacrifice" (destroying Social Security plus Medicare). He set up the Catfood Commission and staffed it with Pete Peterson weasels, even after Congress refused to. Then he adopted recommendations (destroy Social Security and Medicare) even more extreme than the Catfood Commission report (which wasn't even voted on).

    The real poker game is being played between the banksters, the Ds, and the Rs, and there is exactly one sucker at the table: The so-called left in the D party who (by definition) don't even know they're the suckers. They are the ones who should call Obama's bluff. Obama and Boehner are co-operating to take everything they've got.

  3. Hi Kat, always nice to hear from you. And you're right, if Obama would simply call their bluff, the onus would be on them. And I can guarantee it: they will cave. They'll have no choice. Read Mitch McConnell's lips. If Obama truly hung tough I don't think most Americans would blame him if "worse came to worse." Because it should be clear to everyone except the zealots that that the Republican demands are unreasonable and irresponsible.

    On the other hand, I agree that we do need to start over from scratch. What all the fuss is about, when all is said and done, is: maintaining the status quo. Which no longer works. So why bother? Let the markets self-destruct so we can start over with a new plan based on people and resources rather than the manipulation of money.

  4. Lambert, I've heard that argument before, and sometimes it does look that way, but frankly I think you're giving Obama too much credit. My take on the guy is that he is in way over his head. As was Bush II. It now looks like both of them were hand picked by more or less the same team of super-wealthy "movers and shakers" precisely because they were the sort of politicians who could easily be manipulated.

    Obama is thrilled to be President. Clearly he relishes the job. He's always smiling because being President makes him happy. The world could be collapsing around him but if his handlers assure him the polls are going his way he'll still be smiling. Meanwhile, as you say the real poker game is being played by others.

    Does Obama have some sort of grand scheme to gut the social contract? I find that hard to believe. But in the long run it doesn't really matter, because that's the course he's taken and that's the road we are now on -- unless the left in this country wakes up and starts making some waves. I'm reminded of the title of that play by Ibsen: "When We Dead Awaken."

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