Wednesday, December 12, 2012










Wouldn't Want To Question Anyone's Motive


In September, 2010, Chuck Todd & the guys at MSNBC's First Read were in full Village mode when they wrote

Here’s one other point we want to make about the middle striking back: Note these senators who are all up in 2012: Snowe, Dick Lugar, Jon Tester, Claire McCaskill, Bob Corker, Bob Casey, and Jim Webb. What do they all have in common? They’re all moderates, and all of them could face -- potentially -- tough primaries or general elections two years from now. Don’t be surprised if these folks try to work with each other to stay elected.

Two years later, Snowe and Webb declined to run for re-election and Lugar was defeated in the GOP primary in Indiana.      But Tester (D-MT), McCaskill (D-MO), Casey (D-PA), and Corker all were re-elected.

Corker still is being touted as a moderate, as is South Carolina's Lindsey Graham.   Nevertheless, Corker (according to Think Progress) said on Fox News Sunday

The Republicans know they have the debt ceiling, that is coming up around the corner, and, the leverage is going to shift, as soon as we get beyond this issue. The leverage is going to shift, to our side where hopefully we’ll do the same thing we did last time and that is if the president wants to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion we get $2 trillion in spending reduction and, hopefully, this time, it is mostly oriented towards entitlement and with no process. [...]

[Obama] has the upper hand on taxes and you have to pass something to keep it from happening. We only have one body. If we were to pass, for instance, raising the top 2 rates, and that’s it, all of a sudden we do have the leverage of the debt ceiling and we haven’t given that up so the only way the debt ceiling.

His Republican colleague, Graham,  stated the following day on the same network

I’d put revenue on the table only if they do entitlement reform. Here’s what I don’t hear: I don’t hear any Democrat of note saying, ‘Here’s what I would do on the entitlement side. So if I were Republicans, I would be quiet for a while and see what the Democrats put on the table for entitlement reform...

Here is where the President is going to have a rude awakening: We’ll get to the end of the year, there will probably be a small deal to get to the end of the year... [But] I can tell you this: there is a hardening on the Republican side. We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to let Obama borrow anymore money or any American Congress borrow anymore money until we fix this country from becoming How about manning up, Mr. President, and use your mandate to bring this country together to stop us from becoming Greece?...

There’ll come a day – and it’s called the debt ceiling debate – when Republicans will have leverage to save this country from becoming Greece. I hope we’re strong enough as a party to seize that moment.

If Senator Graham had any interest in the truth, he wouldn't trot out that tired, old Repub analogy to Greece.  The U.S.A., Graham probably realizes, has its own currency.  And while productivity in Greece is lower than in most European nations, American productivity has been soaring- it's compensation which has lagged.    Further, Mr. Graham might not want to tell Barack Obama (or anyone) to "man up"; any similarities between him and, say, Arnold Schwarzenegger are completely coincidental. (Two can play that sexist game.)

Graham and Corker do their best to drag the fiscal slope debate to the right.   His warning that "Republicans will have leverage" during what is "called the debt ceiling debate" mirrors Corker's "The leverage is going to shift, to our side where hopefully we’ll do the same thing we did last time."

Except to those not paying attention (most Republicans and members of the mainstream media), the two Senators are not only doing their best to drag the economy down, but also to telegraph their disinterest in debt and deficits.  When it lowered the the nation's credit rating from AAA to AA+ in August, 2011, Standard and Poor's explained

We lowered our long-term rating on the U.S. because we believe that the prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt ceiling and the related fiscal policy debate indicate that further near-term progress containing the growth in public spending, especially on entitlements, or on reaching an agreement on raising revenues is less likely than we previously assumed and will remain a contentious and fitful process.

Corker and Graham, and some of their colleagues, are pining for a "prolonged controversy over raising the statutory debt limit" and "a contentious and fitful process." Corker actually wants "to do the same thing we did last time" because, apparently, it worked out so well for the country then.

Both these guys might heed the words of a Republican Senator the last time the GOP tried to turn the USA into a deadbeat nation.   On July 14 of last year he admitted "Maybe the debt ceiling was the wrong place to pick a fight as it relates to trying to get our country's house in order. Maybe that was the wrong place to deal."

That was Bob Corker himself, who understood what his Party was trying to do to the nation.  And probably, still does.




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