A development that seems to have eluded all the citizen news hawks over at BeefNet is the House Republicans' surrender on the issue of raising the debt ceiling.
Backing down from their hard-line, Republicans in the US House of Reprehensibles said Friday that they would agree to lift the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit for three whole months, with a requirement that both chambers of Congress pass a budget in that time to clear the way for negotiations on long-term deficit reduction.
"Negotiations," yeah. Negotiations are generally one-sided when the other side knows they're beat.
So at this point it's up to B. Barry Bamz to actually say what he wants. All I've heard from him so far is that he doesn't want what the Repus have in mind. But other than vague talk about reductions in social security and medicare (those are both non-starters, prez), he's been silent.
Maybe we need to remind Bamz how to say "cut," as in Middle East-North Africa (MENA).
How did this happen? Why does the Prez all of a sudden own all the tactical advantages against his political opponents? In the past, Republicans' strength was their unity, and they goose-marched over their opponents in lockstep. But in the wake of the Romney disaster, that unity has slipped away.
The Republican Party is in danger of becoming a regional party, confined to the southern and midwestern parts. Catboxx readers might enjoy (and all our Republican friends might enjoy it too) George Packer's short Talk-of-the-Town piece in the new New Yorker called "Southern Discomfort."
To understand why these developments are such a potential disaster for Republicans, take a look at how the nation's regional party alignment has changed in one lifetime -- mine. Here's the electoral map of the 1952 presidential race (Eisenhower (R) vs. Stevenson (D). When a party or faction becomes identified with the most retrograde part of the country, at that point they're obliged to transform themselves, morphing into something else if they want to remain viable.
If they won't or can't do that, the party dies, which would be the best possible outcome in this case. What we need is a genuine progressive party to challenge the Democrats, who are heavily invested in the status quo, and hence the real conservatives in this equation. It's time for the elephants to shuffle off to the happy hunting grounds of Alabama and Arkansas.