Last night, Lawrence O'Donnell explained what he views as Obama's secret plan to bamboozle the Republicans. Obama started out saying he wanted a "clean" debt limit bill, which would be basically one line that raises the debt limit, without anything else like tax increases or spending cuts attached.
The Republicans said no way - we want to cut all those pesky entitlement programs that keep old people alive and keep food in the bellies of poor children. The Democrats said no way - we like grandma and we think she deserves her pension and we don't want to see children go hungry, so let's raise taxes.
Obama said let's compromise - we'll take some money from Exxon Mobile and make Goldman Sachs pay for their private jets; we'll let grandma keep her pension and her health care but we'll make her sons pay; we'll keep feeding the kids but maybe we won't help them go to college. The Democrats and the Republicans both said NO WAY!
After all the foot-stomping and door slamming, the Republican and Democratic leaders publicly agree that the debt limit has to be raised. The tea party brats are still holding their breath and turning purple but there are enough grownups in Congress to get the votes to raise the limit.
Lawrence O'Donnell said Obama knew that no matter what he offered as a compromise, the Republicans would say no. So he felt safe throwing Grandma and the grandkids on the table. In the end, he would get what he wanted all along - a clean debt limit bill with nothing else attached.
Today Obama pointed out to the Republicans that they put their own nuts in a vise and he's the one turning the crank. He told CBS News:
"I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven't resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it ... this is not just a matter of Social Security checks. These are veterans checks, these are folks on disability and their checks. There are about 70 million checks that go out."
And Mitch McConnell is saying,
"The president has presented us with three choices: smoke and mirrors, tax hikes, or default. Republicans choose none of the above. I had hoped to do good, but I refuse to do harm. So Republicans will choose a path that actually reflects the will of the people, which is to do the responsible thing and ensure that the government doesn't default on its obligations."
Doesn't that sound like the Republican Senate Minority Leader is proposing a clean debt limit bill?