Un-Doing the Un-Deal

The announcement by House Speaker John Boehner that he’s now behind efforts to undo last summer’s “debt limit deal” may seem like a major development in Washington. But when you unravel the various illusions involved, it really is a nothing-burger.

The “deal” was actually more of an “un-deal,” since it represented the failure to reach a “deal” (thanks mainly to GOP refusals to consider tax increases) and instead substitute an automatic appropriations “sequestration” process in case a real “deal couldn’t be reached later. Now that, predictably, a real “deal” is further away than ever, Republicans are moving towards legislation that almost certainly won’t be enacted, and would be vetoed in any event, to un-do the un-deal. The whole maneuver is basically just a way for House Republicans to let conservative Members vote for higher defense spending and bigger domestic appropriations cuts. Meanwhile, Democrats will have the chance to depict Republicans as treacherous SOBs who are reneging on the un-deal and turning their back on (non-existent) bipartisanship.

We don’t need reporters to cover this stuff; we need zen masters.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.