‘IT CAN’T HAPPEN’…. A friend of mine following the debt-ceiling vote emailed today to note that plenty of notable media conservatives have warned their Republican allies: don’t screw around on this.
Charles Krauthammer said on Fox News this week, “The Republicans have to be careful here. In the end the debt limit will be raised. You can’t not pass it. It is catastrophic. It means American debt is in question. It can’t happen.”
Dana Perino told Sean Hannity a day later, “If [Sen. Jim DeMint] is serious and his policy is, do not raise the debt ceiling, default on your debt, I think he’s wrong. He’s asking for political and economic disaster.”
George Will also said this week, “I know of no other developed nation that has a debt ceiling. This is a purely recurring symbolic vote to make people feel good by voting against it. The trouble is it’s suicidal if you should happen to miscalculate and have all kinds of people voting against it as a symbolic vote and turn out to be a majority.”
All of this, incidentally, dovetails nicely with the warnings from the Obama administration. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner yesterday urged Congress to act quickly, “well before the threat of default becomes imminent,” to avoid “catastrophic economic consequences that would last for decades.”
And yet, congressional Republicans are congressional Republicans. Here’s Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on CNN yesterday:
“Let me tell you what’s involved if we don’t lift the debt ceiling: financial collapse and calamity throughout the world. That’s not lost upon me. But we’ve done this 93 times. And if we keep doing the same old thing, then that is insanity to the nth degree. We’re going to have calamity of a different fashion if we don’t get our spending under control.
“So what I said is the House is going to go back to 2008 spending levels. I would like to see the Senate mirror what the House does. Now that means tightening our belt, but name somebody in America who hasn’t had to tighten their belt.”
Two things. One, current spending levels are not even close to a “calamity” trajectory. That’s just silly.
Two, if Graham knows that the danger is “financial collapse and calamity throughout the world,” shouldn’t he … I don’t know … try to avoid this fate?
There are plenty of House Republicans who’ve said lately that they don’t think it’s a big deal if they deliberately destroy the full faith and credit of the United States government. Those folks just aren’t very bright. But in some ways, Graham is worse — he realizes global stability is on the line, but he’s still planning to proceed with a hostage strategy. “Do what I want,” he’s telling Democrats, “or the global economy gets it.”
And remember, as far as the media establishment is concerned, Graham is one of the least ridiculous Republicans in the Senate.