After months of fighting about it, Senate Republicans today proposed allowing President Obama to go ahead and raise the debt ceiling to avoid a first-ever default on U.S. obligations. The unusual proposal to empower the president to unilaterally increase the nation's debt limit was the brainchild of Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
McConnell said he reluctantly offered the bizarre proposal because it has become clear the negotiations with Obama are not going anywhere. The Republican plan would require Obama to submit spending cuts along with his borrowing requests, but unlike the automatic increase in the debt limit, they wouldn't automatically take effect.
The goal of the GOP has always been to make Obama a one-term president. The debt ceiling debate is part of the Republican party's never-ending hunt for any issue that can embarrass and ultimately weaken the Obama presidency.
This current maneuver is the GOP's way of trying to label this Obama's debt, not America's debt. They're saying: "It's not our problem. It's your problem." The Republicans apparently can't deal with the debt, so they are finding new and creative ways to weasel out of the issue.
With all the attacks on the president over the debt limit increase - with all the acrimony and talk that the president shows no leadership - when the president says we're at a real critical point, the Republican party passes the buck. Now they want to change the rules, to make adjustments so that Obama can do the dirty work without any Republican vote. It's turned into a convoluted process that is designed to try to force the president to play a game with them that I don't think the American people are falling for. Does the GOP really think the American people are that stupid?
If this whole scenario seems bizarre, well it is. Although this proposed throwing in of the hat by McConnell may not survive the heat from the right, if it does, it has enormous economic and political implications. Either way, it is an open and cynical admission by the Republican leadership that their double talk and backtracking on this issue is typical of their idea of business as usual. And in the case of the Republican party, the point is to try and pin the blame for the fallout of the debt crisis on someone else, specifically Obama. This is not only bad politics, it's potentially political suicide. Let's see how this thing plays out. I'm betting not good for the Republican party.