Oddly enough, the Democrats are itching for a fight with the Republicans over the debt ceiling even to the point of letting them shut down the government.
Well, at least one is.
Echoing President Obama’s refusal to negotiate on the debt limit, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) warned Republicans on Friday that Democrats have no intention of giving in to any of their demands in exchange for lifting the nation’s borrowing limit to pay its bills.
“I think that risking government shutdown, risking not raising the debt ceiling, is playing with fire,” Schumer told reporters in the Capitol, in response to a question from TPM. “Anyone who wants to come and negotiate, and say ‘we will raise the debt ceiling only if you do A, B, C’ will not have a negotiating partner. And if then they don’t want to raise the debt ceiling, it’ll be on their shoulders. I would bet that they would not go forward with that.”
The No. 3 Democrat declared that Obama and congressional Democrats have learned their lesson from the 2011 fiasco that nearly led to a default. He predicted that Republicans will give in and cleanly raise the country’s borrowing authority — which expires around March — if Democrats stonewall and give them no other option.
“If they realize for sure that they’re not going to have a negotiating partner, they’ll have to find another route to bring the change that they want and they won’t risk the full faith and credit of the United States. The only way they get leverage is when they think we might negotiate on those issues.” he said. “There was a very sad moment in 2011 when that happened. And I think there’s a strong consensus at both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue among Democrats not to repeat what I would call — I think what most of us would regard — as a mistake.”
The last time the Republicans had a tantrum and actually shut down the government, is was a disaster for them. It was precipitated by Newt Gingrich’s snit about flying coach on Air Force One coming back from Rabin’s funeral in Israel in November 1995.
This time their image is no better, especially after their debacle with Sandy relief (including one representative from a district on the gulf coast of Mississippi that was destroyed by Katrina who voted against it). So when the Social Security checks stop coming, the VA hospitals go to emergency-only, the FHA stops processing mortgages, the Title I funds stop feeding school kids, the national parks close, and the military has to cut back on some of their services for families at home, we’ll see who gets the blame.
Fox News will blame the president for being intractable, the Villagers will say Both Sides Do It, but if the Democrats stick to their no-negotiations-with-terrorists stand, they’ll win and the GOP will be marginalized even more.