The “this time, the Democrats are going to fight back” meme seems to be taking hold, and I for one heartily approve. Here’s Greg Sargent poking at Karl Rove’s ample, uncovered… weak point:
… Rove’s latest column rips into Obama for supposedly mischaracterizing the GOP position on the debt limit. He quotes Obama saying: “We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred.” And here’s how Rove responds to Obama:
The experience didn’t leave Mr. Obama with greater humility. Instead, this New Year’s Day he tartly said, “We can’t not pay bills that we’ve already incurred.” Who is suggesting we don’t? Not House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, or any other Republican leader. Quite the opposite. They want to cover the cost of the existing debt while cutting spending to prevent a fiscal catastrophe.
Who is suggesting we don’t pay our debts? Not Boehner, McConnell, or any other GOP leaders.
There you have it. Rove acknowledges flat out that Boehner, McConnell, and other Republican leaders do recognize that they will have to raise the debt ceiling. They just, you know, want to raise it while reaching a broader deal to cut spending. The game here is absurdly transparent: You mustn’t claim Republicans are crazy enough to destroy the economy to get their way, because they don’t want to do that at all — but you still must play along with the idea that the need to raise the debt ceiling (which they acknowledge must happen) still somehow gives them leverage to get the cuts they want.…
And Dave Weigel, at Slate, reports that Democrats are (finally) using Repub intransigence as a weapon:
On Wednesday morning, most business reporters confirmed Barack Obama’s next choice to lead the Treasury Department: White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew. Within hours, the same reporters got a statement from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, ranking member of the Budget Committee and a man who’ll have some say over whether Lew gets the job…
Sessions’ outrage was manna to an unexpected group of people: Democrats. For months, a group of freshman Democratic senators have been trying to nail down 51 votes to reform the filibuster. On Jan. 22, when the Senate votes on this congressional session’s rulebook, they’ll need to keep that group together. Every time a Republican threatens an Obama nominee, their job gets easier.
“It really does highlight how the intentional paralysis of the Senate, through the use of a filibuster as a party tool, has gotten out of hand,” says Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley, one of the authors of the reform plan. “Here are qualified people, the president has just won re-election, and [Republicans] are making it as difficult as possible to get them confirmed.”
Behold, the New Democratic Chutzpah. It shows no signs of slowing. Reporters ask the White House about a once-crazy-sounding idea—minting a $1 trillion platinum coin to avert a debt ceiling showdown—and don’t hear a “no.” Joe Biden hints that the president might take “executive action” to enhance gun laws, gets accused of enabling a “dictatorship,” and doesn’t walk it back. They wave the red cape, see how the bull reacts, and then wave the cape a little harder….
Apart from cheering on the matadors, what’s on the agenda this evening?