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This Is How Republicans Could Blow The 2014 Midterms

Memo Pad Politics

This Is How Republicans Could Blow The 2014 Midterms


As the 2014 midterm elections approach, Republicans are feeling increasingly optimistic about their chances of winning a majority in the U.S. Senate, along with keeping control of the House of Representatives. And while there is reason to doubt that the current Republican plan of simply trashing the Affordable Care Act without even offering an alternative will persuade large numbers of voters, there’s no question that the electoral map strongly favors the GOP.

Still, there is one thing that could completely dash the Republicans’ electoral hopes: another protracted battle over raising the debt ceiling.

Despite the massive political damage the GOP sustained in October, when it forced a government shutdown and took the nation to the brink of debt default, many Republicans appear eager to once again hold the global economy hostage in another doomed effort to force concessions from Democrats when the limit must be raised again in February or March (Senate Democrats contend that Congress has a bit more time).

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) set the tone in December, when he vowed that “We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit.”

His stance has since been echoed by several members of Congress, such as influential conservative Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) — who suggested that the “debate is going to be over more cutting” from the budget — and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who promised a fight in the wake of the budget deal that took another government shutdown off the table.

“I doubt if the House or for that matter the Senate is willing to give the president a clean debt ceiling increase,” McConnell warned. “We’ll have to see what the House insists on adding to it as a condition for passing it.”

Here’s the problem for the GOP: No matter what the House insists on “adding to it as a condition,” the Democratic-controlled Senate and the White House will not accept it. Democrats, led by President Obama, made it abundantly clear in October that they would never again negotiate over a debt ceiling deal. McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) then confirmed that they don’t have to, by folding in the 25th hour and making it plain that they won’t actually allow the U.S. to default on its debt. When it comes to the debt limit, congressional Republicans have absolutely no leverage.

That doesn’t mean that they won’t force a confrontation anyway, however. After all, a startling number of Republican legislators — along with the voters who sent them to Washington — don’t appear to understand that the debt ceiling actually needs to be raised. If, like Congressmen Fleming, you don’t believe economists who warn that failing to pay our bills would lead to fiscal catastrophe, then you have no incentive not to force another crisis to prove to your right-wing constituents that you’re fighting the good fight against the Obama administration.

Henry Decker

Henry Decker was formerly the Managing Editor of The National Memo. He is currently an Online Associate at MRCampaigns.

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  1. John Kruger January 16, 2014

    The house speaker was key to holding up the vote on raising the debt ceiling. Now that it is obvious that Boehner’s job is not at stake for not following through he would have to be absolutely crazy to let it happen again. Can he really be fooled by Ted Cruz twice in a row?

    1. Mark Forsyth January 17, 2014

      Someone will invariably try to make it worth his while.I would not want to trust Boehners moral compass.

      1. John Kruger January 17, 2014

        Even without a moral compass, I don’t think they can threaten him the same way they did last time. Clearly the threat was empty on his part, he did back out in the end. I suspect he was not really up for it in the first place, knowing that it was a plan that could not really work, but just felt he had no option with the state of the rest of his party. He broke ranks last time and kept his position, I can’t see how he would think it would be any different the second time.

        1. Mark Forsyth January 17, 2014

          Probably so but surely someone will dangle a pretty financial carrot to tempt him to try it.Who knows,perhaps there is some further political position he desires though that is pure conjecture on my part.

  2. Lynda Groom January 17, 2014

    If they keep being republicans they do indeed have an excellent chance of blowing their congressional re-election chances.

  3. Mark Forsyth January 17, 2014

    Ugh! I certainly could have done without the huge photo of Turtlehead McConnell so early in the morning.I see this scenario as a win win for Democrats who need only hold the line and refuse to negotiate further on cuts.The gop is damned if they do and damned if they don’t.They are only moderately better off if they do not flirt with another shutdown.They have proved that they do not have anything positive to offer and with guys like Rove and the Kochs attempting to call the shots and steer the the issues,the only thing the gop has is to keep negatively hammering away at ACA.
    I say we remain vigilant for the nefarious techniques they are sure to employ but be prepared to gleefully watch them drive another nail in the gop coffin.

    1. Allan Richardson January 18, 2014

      Unfortunately, they are only damned if the voters REALIZE it and if they TURN OUT. Opinion pieces that make it sound like Pelosi might as well start moving back into the Speaker’s office could be attempts by the GOP to get complacent Democratic voters to stay home, and complacent Democratic activists and donors to “let someone else” work for and donate to their candidates.

      The American people, especially on a state-by-state or district-by-district basis (with gerrymandered districts), HAVE been fooled before into voting for predators who then prey on the economy and the people, and with ENOUGH MONEY (which they have in spades), and the support of LYING “news” outlets like Faux and SPINELESS ones like the “impartial” CNN, NBC, CBS, etc (all but MSNBC), they can fool us AGAIN. Every thinking American must contribute to the effort to stop them, or … they will get what they were planning to get in 1932: an impoverished and powerless electorate turning America over to her home grown fascists … or maybe feudal Lords.

  4. booker25 January 18, 2014

    I hope they blow it, I am tired of the gridlock in DC and tired of the games these yahoo’s are playing with the citizens of this nation. They need the boot!!!

  5. The Savage Hombre January 18, 2014

    Once liberty’s benefits were recognized by the English and Scottish, they began to study liberty’s history, understand liberty’s principles, and broaden liberty’s influence.

  6. Bryan Blake January 19, 2014

    The last near default caused the massive donors of the right wing to drop a load in their diapers just at the very real prospect of losing billions if the GOP House caused a debt default. I hope that I am wrong but I just do not see another fight over the debt ceiling taking place. The Tea Party has been warned to “play nice” or their money will be cut off and they will not be allowed to return to the playground in 2014.

    The Democrats must take this election seriously and pour as much money as they can to hold on to the Senate! It would be nice to take back the House but given redistricting it is almost an impossible task. The Democrats were asleep at the wheel in 2010 and handed the GOP the House. They should give up their pipe dreams and defend the Senate.

    The Democrats also should take a few plays from the Brothers Koch and pay attention to politics at the state level. If they do not the GOP may be in control of well over one-half of the states after the 2014 and 2016 elections.


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