No use for ‘threats and teenage antics’

NO USE FOR ‘THREATS AND TEENAGE ANTICS’…. There’s no shortage of items out there urging House Republicans to stop playing dangerous games with the debt limit, but this one stood out for me.

Good budget policy comes from a clear and present threat to the economy and our long term prosperity combined with a political window to change our budget trajectory.

Threats and teenage antics aren’t typically part of the recipe. And those who make budget policy based on a “Thelma and Louise” or “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” approach to governance tend to lose credibility quickly when they don’t plunge their car over the cliff or run into the hail of bullets firing.

So let’s all just chill out, grow up, and cut a deal. That’s why the people sent the new Congress here. Progress. Not hyperbole. Not ultimatums. Cut. A. Deal.

The reason it caught my eye, in addition to being reasonably good advice, is who wrote it. The piece comes from Rich Gold, one of Washington’s most influential lobbyists, a partner at Holland & Knight, one of Washington’s lobbying powerhouses (and a Republican-friendly firm, at that).

I mention this context because Gold is the kind of guy who, when he places a call to a congressional office, it gets returned fairly quickly. He’s also not the type to pick fights with offices he’ll want to stay friendly with. So when he suggests in print that he’s seeing “teenage antics” and suicidal threats, it’s safe to assume a lot of his clients are starting to worry.

The reason, I suspect, there isn’t more widespread panic about this is that, ultimately, most folks simply assume cooler heads will prevail. Republicans may engage in more than their share of crazy talk, but basic patriotism and a sense of self-interest will prevent them from literally and deliberately creating an international economic crisis.

There is, however, still a hint of doubt. People assume the GOP isn’t that crazy, but there’s a small part of them that asks, “Are they that crazy?”

As this anxiety grows, slowly but surely, I suspect a lot of lobbyists will hear from a lot of clients, and the pressure on Republicans will grow. They may not care — this is a remarkably reckless bunch — but Gold’s recommendation won’t be the last.