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View Diary: Seeking Maximum Leverage In Political Bargaining (36 comments)

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  •  Correction: (10+ / 0-)

    The GOP very much didplay the debt ceiling card on Bill Clinton:

    As early as April, 1995, House Speaker Newt Gingrich promised to use the impending debt limit crisis as an opportunity to force passage of a Republican budget bill, to which the President was strongly opposed.

    Buried within the legislation was a provision to raise the Ceiling. Neither side seemed willing to back down, and the crisis that ensued demonstrates the ways in which the Secretary can keep the government afloat, when additional borrowing is prohibited by the debt limit, by maneuvering within the existing statutory framework. For a period of several months, budget bills passed by the Congress – some of which included provisions that would have stripped the Secretary of his statutory authority during a federal debt crisis – were met by the President’s veto.

    In April of 1995, with the Ceiling at $4.9 trillion – where it had been since 1993 – Newt Gingrich appeared on This Week With David Brinkley and stated his willingness to force the government into default. At the end of July, during testimony before the Senate Committee on Finance, CBO projected that the government would be able to “squeak through September” without breaching the debt ceiling, and “[w]ith a little ingenuity, the Treasury may even be able to hold out into early November.” Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin found such a default “unthinkable” and “akin to nuclear war.”

    To prevent President Clinton from having to sacrifice key initiatives and abandon his political agenda, Secretary Rubin sought to operate beneath the debt ceiling for as long as possible.

    President Clinton experienced this exact same several months that President Obama has. The difference was that President Clinton refused to negotiate over the debt ceiling. He just REFUSED. He would negotiate over the budget, sure. But the debt ceiling was separate and any bill that had debt celing stuff in it was promptly vetoed, even though he ultimately accepted a great deal of the budget provisions the GOP was asking for. One of the bills he vetoed was almost exactly like one he eventually signed. Know why? It had debt ceiling language in it. He just refused any negotiations over the debt ceiling.

    In March of 1996, Congress knuckled under and raised the debt limit.

    The reason Clinton won that fight was not just that he was a savvy negotiator. He was willing to play absolute total asshole when necessary.

    •  Diary this! I'd never seen it before. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      brooklynbadboy, ord avg guy


      "Gussie, a glutton for punishment, stared at himself in the mirror."

      by GussieFN on Wed Jul 27, 2011 at 02:09:07 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Clinton publicly called it "blackmail." More: (6+ / 0-)
        On Capitol Hill, the freshman class of Republicans have called the shots on this issue so far, using tactics President Clinton today characterized as "economic blackmail, pure and simple." On Wall Street wary traders are wondering whether the risk of lending money to the Government may be about to rise sharply.

        Here's what Bill Clinton said to Congress when they came at him this way:

        "For all their loose talk," Mr. Clinton said, "the Congressional leaders know that if they were to allow us to go into default, this would have a severe impact on our economy, on financial markets, and on the interest rates paid" by government, business and homeowners.

        But in the next breath, Mr. Clinton said he would not let that risk force him to sign a budget he hates. "If they send me a budget that says simply, 'You take our cuts or we'll let the country go into default,' I will veto it," he concluded.

        You see that? That's called a tough customer. Now compare that with Obama's weak "play nice" crap.

        Ezra actually wrote about this a while back.

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