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PM Carpenter, your host. Email: pmcarp at mchsi dot com.
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July 01, 2011



"In short, the better way for Obama to win this thing is to play it straight, however crooked Republicans may be."

So, Obama should...what?

Tom D

"The bills might get paid, but the volume of Imperial President! and Despotic Executive! bellowed by Congressional Republicans would render their present hysteria comparatively low-keyed. And with the bills being paid, an electorate receiving its Social Security checks etc., etc. might then be likely to contendedly sympathize with the fiscal barbarians."

For once, I disagree with your analysis. Americans like a strong POTUS, even a despotic one, if we think he's *our* bastard. Nixon's imperial presidency was hated at the end because we all saw it as fundamentally self-serving; on the other hand the reckless and buffoonish W. was reelected in 2004 because he was perceived as strong against "terror" (and because his opponent ran an ineffectual campaign and allowed himself to be portrayed as weak and waffling).

If Obama bucks GOP intransigence and honors US debt while paying entitlements, I can't see how that translates into sympathy for the hoodlums.


Have to disagree.

The precedent is already set in Perry v United States - 1935 (SCOTUS ruled that under Section 4 voiding a United States government bond "went beyond the congressional power").

The President would not be being imperial or breaking any new ground.

The way Congress is acting would indeed be un-Constitutional if they fail to raise the debt limit.

I think it is actually essential that any such action, now and potentially in the future, by any Congress should once and finally be crushed on Constitutional grounds.

To question the validity of the obligations of debt destroys the principle, contractual obligation and mechanism of debt.

No branch of government has that right, unless it wants to operate in an entirely different economic model - and one the rest of the world would assuredly have much to say.


I have the same worries as PM. Republicans would also add this to the conflict in Libya where they have accused him of not going through Congress. And the media will of course go along with Republicans and they will bring on the Democrats who disagreed with what Obama did.

This is not a game folks. People and businesses stand to suffer if this doesn't work out.

LOL @ Tom D. : the people like their president's strong but they like their jobs, 401ks and government checks even more. People have no interest in government battles if they are not getting their money or if they are losing money. They are not invested and never asked to be a part of any ideological war.

steve duncan

Republicans get away with their demagoguery because the public fears Democrats will deprive them of their "chance" at being one rich and secure plutocrats viewed as a source of tax revenue. When Obama suggests raising taxes on the wealthy even the paupers and rubes scraping by on 20k a year think they're going to be robbed. Example: Damned few people get rich playing the lottery. Most lose, a few break even, .0005 get fabulously lucky and retire. Now, if Democrats suggested eliminating the lottery the hackles would be deafening, despite the fact relatively no one gets rich off it. Merely depriving them of the chance at riches would enflame hysteria. Same goes for taxing the rich. Just as every person that has a Powerball ticket believes it's a winner, so too do a hell of a lot of people think, against all logic and circumstance, that one day they're going to somehow become a millionaire. Ergo, raising taxes on millionaires is by extension raising taxes on their future good fortune. We live amongst the stupid and superstitious. Just look around and take note of all the churches and casinos if you don't believe me.

Tom D

@Alli: Um, "they like their jobs, 401ks and government checks even more" is exactly my point.

The GOP is threatening to force suspension of those gummint checks, or at least a Hobson's "choice" between interest payments to debt holders and entitlement payments. If the President tells Hobson to f--- off and pays those checks any way, NOBODY who needs that money is going to see it as some sort of ideology dispute. They'll see the POTUS saving their bacon.

John Duffy

I, too, disagree with you, Mr. Carpenter. The increased volume on the part of the GOP would be like a punk rocker screaming louder. I really think that the public has stopped listening to them. And if they really do focus on this whole debt ceiling issue, if they find out the only reason for it is the passionate Republican fealty to the rich and the connected, I can't see how that helps them.

The Repubs deserve a new mascot: Chicken Little.

Peter G

I for one will agree. The use of the fourteenth amendment will allow business to continue as usual, as it should, but the Democrats would entirely own the ballooning deficit politically. This is a very risky strategy which is likely to give whoever wins the tallest dwarf contest among the Republicans a real chance of success. And the same applies to congressional races.


steve duncan: I think you hit very well on the psychology that the Grover Norquist and current GOPers are using.

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