Go Ahead, GOP, Make Obama's Day

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So how can the GOP get something it wants out of the sodden mess of our debt negotiations? Here's my answer: pass a short-term debt-ceiling increase.  It seems pretty clear to me that there's no time or common ground for a grand bargain before August 2nd, so pass a short-term increase.  Give him nine months.  Call his bluff.


Because it is a bluff.  Obama is not going to shut down the government rather than accept a short term deal.  He's also not going to default.  Doing so would virtually ensure that even if he doesn't have to raise the debt ceiling in 2012, come January 2013, he'll be cleaning out the Oval Office to make room for the next resident.

Is this what I would have liked to get out of this confrontation?  Certainly not; I'd have liked a broader deal that raised some new revenue and cut a lot of spending.  But I think the time for that is past.  What you can do is make the White House have a lot more conversations like this:


TAPPER: The worst-case scenario here is a default, right?

CARNEY: That is a bad scenario. I'm not sure -- I mean --

TAPPER: Is it worse --

CARNEY: You know, there are things you could anticipate. But I -- yes.

TAPPER: Is it worse than voting on the debt ceiling again next year?

CARNEY: The uncertainty created by regular votes on whether or not, for the first time -- you know, and if you think it's -- there's -- there are political --

TAPPER: Weren't there regular votes on raising the debt ceiling during the Bush years?

CARNEY: There are -- well, but it had not -- it had not become -- look -- yeah, boy, there were. It's funny that you should mention it, because -- (laughter) --

TAPPER: There were. Every year --

It's a win win--better for the GOP, better for the country.  And if I'm wrong, and he does force a default, then it's the fault of the Democrats, not you!  It doesn't get much better than that, right?

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Megan McArdle is a columnist at Bloomberg View and a former senior editor at The Atlantic. Her new book is The Up Side of Down.

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