I read a piece somewhere that argued that Republicans have to vote to increase the debt ceiling, because . . . well, they just have to. (We’re going to hit the ceiling in the next few days, so this is a very topical issue.) The implication of the article is that Republicans’ bargaining position is weak, because they have no choice.
Since when is it a weak bargaining position to have 2/3 of the country behind your position?
If Republicans are going to vote to raise the debt ceiling — and not to do so will indeed cause financial chaos — they have to extract concessions sufficient that they can credibly say: this is the last such vote we will ever have to have. These concessions prove it.
Decide what concessions are important, demand them, and stick to your demand. Don’t fold when you have all the cards.
Just say: we want this to be the last time we ever raise this ceiling. The Democrats want to raise it forever.
Then say it again. And again. And again.
And don’t let them blame you. Every time they accuse you of wanting to ruin us financially, point out that they have the power to agree to your reasonable demands — which, if they are not met, simply means we will be back in the same position in six months or so. Because, after all: we want this to be the last time we ever raise this ceiling. The Democrats want to raise it forever.
Time to see whether Boehner has the ability to stand firm.
UPDATE: Reason to doubt that he does: this article, which states that lawmakers are planning to give themselves political cover by essentially passing a set of goals and targets — i.e., lip service. The article’s key paragraph:
The tough decisions would come after the debt limit vote, when lawmakers would have to decide each year exactly how to find the needed savings.
Nope. The tough decisions have to be made NOW. When we hold the cards.
But of course, we all know they won’t be.
Get ready to be absolutely infuriated. Again.