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The GOP's ploy couldn't be more obvious
If it wasn't already obvious that today's so-called "clean" debt limit bill is a political ploy, then all you need to do is read the legislation itself, especially the first section:
H.R. 1954: A bill to implement the President’s request to increase the statutory limit on the public debt.


The Congress finds that the President’s budget proposal, Budget of the United States Government, Fiscal Year 2012, necessitates an increase in the statutory debt limit of $2,406,000,000,000.

So if you vote for this bill, you're not just voting to raise the debt limit, you're also going on record in support of the absurd notion that President Obama's 2012 budget proposal is the reason why we need to increase the debt limit. In truth, we need to raise the debt limit because Congress—with Republicans in control of the House—has already passed a 2011 budget that requires an increase in the debt limit. And literally nobody has proposed a 2012 budget that wouldn't require an increase in the debt limit, not even folks like Rand Paul.

It would be one thing if this legislation had a chance of passing, but it doesn't—GOP leadership imposed a two-thirds vote requirement for passage, all but guaranteeing its defeat.

This is nothing more than a message bill, and as such, every single Democrat who votes today should vote against it. They can make it clear in statements for the record that they support a responsible increase in the debt limit, but they shouldn't let Republicans define the terms of the debate or put words in their mouths.

Republicans hope today's vote shows they have they aren't bluffing when they threaten to throw America into default on its obligations with Democrats agreeing to spending cuts. They want this vote to show they are committed to responsible fiscal policies. But that's bullshit. What Republicans really want—and Democrats have been doing a great job of hammering this home—is to end Medicare as we know it in order to pay for tax cuts for wealthy individuals and corporations. The GOP would rather cut Medicaid than end subsidies for oil companies.

The truth is that with their failed economic policies and massively expensive—and needless—wars, the Republican Party is responsible for our long-term debt problem. Now they want Democrats to go on record blaming President Obama for the problem they caused, and they want them to do it on a vote that is guaranteed to fail. That's not a game Democrats should play. They should vote no on the GOP's political debt limit bill.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Exactly!! ... (4+ / 0-)

    will any Blue Dogs vote yes on this garbage? .. we shall see

  •  Yep. But how many Blue Dogs (0+ / 0-)

    will vote with the Republicans? I do hope Pelosi can keep the caucus together. The debate is scheduled to begin at 4:45 on CSPAN if I remember correctly from looking earlier today.

  •  When in doubt (11+ / 0-)

    Don't treat the American people as if they're idiots.

    Vote yes.

    It's the right policy - GOP ads in the 2012 cycle be damned.

    When push comes to shove, I prefer my party to be the one that says "Run your stupid fucking ads, I'm not playing your dumb game -- the debt ceiling had to be raised and I voted to raise it.  If you want to come after me for voting to prevent the first US debt default in history, have at it."

    Stop treating the American people as if they're idiots - they know what the GOP is going here.

    If you want the cocktail party, cable news kabuki theater to cease -- then quit acting as if you care about it.

    Full Disclosure: I am an unpaid shill for every paranoid delusion that lurks under your bed - but more than willing to cash any checks sent my way

    by zonk on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:05:43 AM PDT

  •  Which would be better, "No" or "Present"? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter, DemSign, RhodaA

    I honestly don't know.

    We don't want our country back, we want our country FORWARD. --Eclectablog

    by Samer on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:06:17 AM PDT

  •  American Taliban attack on America needs to fail (4+ / 0-)
  •  I say (9+ / 0-)

    Vote "present"- Make the GOP take full ownership of this turd.

    Just another day in Oceania.

    by drshatterhand on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:10:35 AM PDT

  •  Stop framing it like the GOP wants. (7+ / 0-)

    Every GOPer who votes 'no' on this is voting to destroy America's economy unless they get deep cuts to medicare and medicaid.

    That's a terribly unpopular move...and Dems should be highlighting the shit out of it. They SHOULD have made ads, so the second the GOP votes down this measure, they hit the airwaves framing the debate in that way.

    •  Yup agreed. They are evil and on the worn (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DEMonrat ankle biter

      side of our problems in America.

      The GOP make stuff worse. We and our elected officials need to say so.

      Evil in America brought to us by the evil radical R's the minions of the evil rich.

      The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

      by a2nite on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:27:33 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  GOP goes opposite Dem (4+ / 0-)

      That's their strategy.  If the Democratic caucus votes "No" and leaves (so their vote can't change) the GOP will ALL vote yes.  Say what you will about GOP policies, but their politics are quite good and they vote as one.  If we vote "No" the ads will be "We tried, look at the vote, we even had a majority, but those evil Democrats wouldn't let us save this country that we love so much it hurts."  

      Voting "Yes" doesn't put the GOP on the spot; they just vote "No" and run those "not serious about the deficit" ads.  Voting "Present" does put them on the spot.  It still won't pass, but the GOP then has to decide how they vote and vote honestly.  If enough initially vote "Yes" (unlikely though that may be) it gets really interesting as Pelosi could have the caucus change their votes, but the only way to have the GOP own this vote is for us to vote "Present".  

    •  The GOP voted to bankrupt America. (2+ / 0-)

      It's true, it's powerful. How hard should it be to turn this to our advantage?

      Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

      by DaveW on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:29:54 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Democrats should seek to amend (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, zapus, Tommy Allen

    with an amendment that the House will send a budget to the President requiring no debt limit increases as a sign of good faith.

    If you thought the Ryan budget was a nice club with which to lambaste Republicans, imagine what a this-year balanced budget would look like.

    In theory, there is no difference between theory and practice; but in practice, there always is a difference. - Yogi Berra

    by blue aardvark on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:13:11 AM PDT

  •  Disagree. The Rs will vote "no", every D (4+ / 0-)

    should vote yes. This is the only way to send a message that the debt limit increase is not linked to the budget. By voting "no" with the Rs, Democrats will appear to be similarly opposed to the President and in favor of draconian budget cuts with no tax increases. A "yes" vote is easy to explain, a "no" vote is not.

    Further, affiant sayeth not.

    by Gary Norton on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:16:00 AM PDT

    •  Tax "increases" (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gary Norton

      What should...hell, MUST...happen is for the tax cuts for the uber-wealthy implemented under Bush to be ended.  The repubs will undoubtedly spew out rhetoric that this is a "tax increase", but the truth is, it's just getting taxes for these people back to where it was before the Bush cuts.  I'm pretty sure dems can present that case in an understandable way for all Americans to understand...INCLUDING those affected.

      -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

      by r2did2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:22:42 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You're missing the third option (5+ / 0-)


      Teh stoopidTM, it hurts. Buy smart, union-printed, USA-made, signs, stickers, swag for everyone:

      by DemSign on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:48:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'm aware of the option. We need to go (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Brooke In Seattle

        the offensive. When the Rs vote no we need to attack them with, "My opponent voted to stop tour Social Security (fill in the blank) payment. I voted to ensure you kept your       . " Ad long as we play on the Rs turf with their messaging we lose.

        Further, affiant sayeth not.

        by Gary Norton on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:27:57 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  No, they should vote present (8+ / 0-)

    voting No supports what repubs are trying to do with this sham

    A no vote just proves R messaging that no clean bill can get passed

    vote PRESENT!

  •  I'm leaning on the side of "Present" too (5+ / 0-)

    Voting YES will open the Dems up to relentless ads about leaving our children 8 billion tons of debt (or something similar)

    Voting NO will be playing into the Repub's hands and making their arguments stronger down the road.

    Voting PRESENT to me says "We aren't falling for your Trap bill so STFU" and to me this is the best (of 3 not so good) response.

  •  GOP ploys (0+ / 0-)

    Don't play with the GOP bullies.

    Shut down their "rational"  & irrational legislative ploys so that Dems can win big in '12.

    Great Post!

  •  "No" would be disastrous (5+ / 0-)

    When we have to give detailed procedural explanations to a vote that is against raising the debt ceiling, then Republicans win the messaging.  

    "Present" is probably the best choice.  

    When are we going to be as good as Republicans at this game?  When?

  •  vote "Present" (4+ / 0-)

    It's the least usual way to vote and will make folks question why they didn't vote 'yes' or 'no' ...that gives the Dems a platform/opportunity to lay the "dirty tricks" mantle upon the GOPhers shoulders.

  •  President Obama: The Adult In The Room! (3+ / 0-)

    I think the Republicans have given President Obama a great opportunity to appear as the "Adult-in-the-Room".

    He can point to the obvious political game the Republicans are playing as we creep towards default.  That they are more interested in scoring political points then they are with the financial welfare of this country.

    He can then use his recent increase in popularity as politcal clout and pivot to putting on the table a reasonable package of deficit reductions which balance some moderate spending cuts with tax increases for millionaires, and which do not include medicare.  


    "Some men see things as they are and ask, 'Why?' I dream of things that never were and ask, 'Why not?"

    by Doctor Who on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:35:45 AM PDT

  •  Who gives a rat's ass? Not us voters out here. (2+ / 0-)

    Do the Republicans honestly think anyone 16 months from now will give a crap about some long-lost presupposition in a failed bill, when everyone's been talking about the meat of the bill, and will continue to, until talk of the Presidential race drowns everything else out?

    I think it's a great sign that the Democrats have the advantage that this is all the Repbulicans can come up with.  

  •  I don't understand the strategy. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Why not just vote yes on this clean bill and raise the debt limit?

    If they expect all the Dems to vote NO, why not turn the tables on them and vote yes, raise the debt limit, and move the fuck on!

    The debt limit has to do with paying bills we are already obligated to pay. Just because most of the electorate misunderstands that, we shouldn't go into default as a result of that ignorance.

    The educator in chief needs to address the American people and explain once and for all that the United States government is NOT like a family household budget, and we should stop trying to act like it is.

    We need jobs in this country and a return to a normal state -- not this constant, frantic, ginned-up controversy after ginned-up controversy that keeps us all running in place and never getting anything done.

    Someone explain why the Dems shouldn't all vote yes and move on like grown ups instead of continuing to play these childish games of one-upsmanship.

    "The difference between the right word and the almost-right word is like the difference between lightning and the lightning bug." -- Mark Twain

    by Brooke In Seattle on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:37:48 AM PDT

  •  not to be pedantic... (0+ / 0-)

    But this:

    "The truth is that with their failed economic policies and massively expensive—and needless—wars, the Republican Party is responsible for our long-term debt problem."

    is not totally true.  Many democrats voted for these needless wars in the first place, and it was Obama who chose to escalate in Afganistan and who opened a new theatre in Libya.

    As for the economic policies, democrats joined with republicans to deregulate the banking industry, obama and the democrats extended not only bush's bailouts but his tax cuts too. Oh, and how's HAMP doing? or that too-small stimulus that both democrats and republicans whittled away at?

    •  I learned a new word today, thanks (0+ / 0-)

      Guess it's easier to say "pedantic" than "splitting hairs".  Good one, Frenchy.

      But, that's as far as I'm gonna go on givin' ya kudos, my friend.  Not all democrats joined with republicans on some of the things you're saying and, let's be honest here...the info on the wars that dems did go along with was suspect to say the least.  And, as for Obama and war policy, hey..this guy got left with a mess...a HUGE mess..and although I may agree that his meddling of late in ME affairs is troublesome, all of this craziness was a direct result of the Bush years...exclusively.  

      -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

      by r2did2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:45:25 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  not splitting hairs (0+ / 0-)

        I don't need anyone's kudos. The fact is, these disasters were visited upon us by both parties on a highly bipartisan basis, whether it was Clinton-era deregulation or Democrats playing sucker for George Bush: after Florida, anyone who went along with that mumbling fraud was willfully ignorant.

        I'm glad that you concede that the info on the wars the dems got was "suspect to say the least": that's all the more reason they should have tried to stop the war in Iraq before it got started. They didn't though, did they?

        And now, by the way, the democrats want to extend the very policies that came out of that disgusting illegal war: the PATRIOT act, the witretapping, the indefinite detentions.

        •  I won't get into a pissing match (0+ / 0-)

          I wrote your profile name down so I won't ever give ya kudos again since you don't "need" that.  

          I'm not sure if you know it but not all congresspeople or senators were privvy to everything that went into creating the information that was given to them during the process of going into Iraq.  Hey...I agree it was not something we should have done and if ya want to put the same blame on dems as repubs and Bush, then that's on you.  

          Like I said, we'd not agree ever, never, on this so ain't gonna be drawn into some pissing match on it.

          Think as you want.  It's a free country, thank goodness.

          -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

          by r2did2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:09:34 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Well, it's kind of like arguing (0+ / 0-)

            whether the serial killer is solely at fault, or whether the cowardly folks who didn't try to stop him when they could are equally guilty, or not guilty at all, or not as guilty. We've been betrayed by all sides of our political setup, perhaps to varying degrees. Do you seriously dispute that?

            Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

            by DaveW on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:39:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Of course not..Dave (0+ / 0-)

              Rhetorical question.

              I won't answer because regardless of what I said it could be argued.

              Thanks for participating, though.

              -- **Nothing sucks more than that moment during an argument when you realize you're wrong.**

              by r2did2 on Tue May 31, 2011 at 01:00:07 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  sig (0+ / 0-)

            disregarding the rest of our comment thread, my old man always taught me that the best part of an argument is when you realize you're wrong, because that means you learned something.

  •  if this is the concern (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, DEMonrat ankle biter

    voting no has equal political uses. Better to vote present.

  •  a No vote is a bigger loser than a Yes (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Jerry056, Sue B

    Instead of getting to explain why you voted differently than the GOP due to their complete lack of seriousness about the situation, you would then have to explain that you completely disagree with them even though you voted the same way.  
    'Looks like they were right, and no one thinks increasing the debt ceiling without budget cuts is a good idea.'  

    Vote yes, and point out that even the senseless Ryan plan to slash Medicare, Medicaid, and other desired services requires raising the debt ceiling.  It has to be done, and anyone pretending otherwise is just that: pretending.

    If you want a discussion, please stick to arguing the point. If you wanted something else...please exit the vehicle.

    by robizio on Tue May 31, 2011 at 09:58:17 AM PDT

  •  Oddly... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    crankypatriot, Brooke In Seattle

    ...this diary in my Google Reader feed was right next to one from Digby about how Democrats should vote "yes".  

    After reading both (and Josh Marshall's argument for "yes") I think they have the much stronger argument.  

    The argument every Democrat should be making is that no extortion should be allowed.  How the hell do you make that argument if you've voted against a clean increase?  

    They should vote yes unanimously.  It puts the Republicans on record as the party that opposes paying its bills.

  •  Voting for this bill, with its "intro" would (0+ / 0-)

    only make sense if "the president's budget proposal" were passed as is.  A president's budget proposal is never passed as is.  So the intro makes no sense.  The GOP is only ablut playing games, not governing in a serious manner.

  •  Can they vote "present"? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    If so, what would be the political harm in voting "present" thereby forcing the republicans to only vote yes/no.

    Fools these GOP are

    •  I don't see how Democrats can fear... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      ...the consequences of supporting a bill with an innocuous sentence at the front, but they don't fear the consequences of voting "present" instead of yes or no.  To my mind the latter is much better fodder for attacking Democrats.

      It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

      by Rich in PA on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:44:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  They should vote Present (4+ / 0-)

    And reveal the ploy for what it is.

    The only thing we have to fear is fear itself - FDR. Obama Nation. -6.13 -6.15

    by ecostar on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:43:28 AM PDT

  •  Vote Present (5+ / 0-)

    you bloody idiots.  Let the GOP vote however they want.  If they vote No they're ruining America, if they vote Yes, Obama gets what he wants.

    If you wanna be really clever, pretend that you're voting no.  Or yes.  Whatever.  Then as a party, vote Present and fuck over the GOP.

    But that wont happen, of course.

  •  There's way too much cleverness here. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    This isn't a clean bill.  Tell Republicans to introduce a bill that says nothing except that we're raising the debt ceiling, then all Democrats should vote for it regardless of how Republicans vote.  Frankly I'd vote for the bill as proposed by Republicans because non-performative language is worthless, but if you want to be a purist as to what constitutes a clean bill that's fine with me.  But if and when we get one, Democrats should support it no matter what Republicans tell themselves about their tactical brilliance.

    It's better to curse the darkness than light a candle. --Whoever invented blogs, c.1996

    by Rich in PA on Tue May 31, 2011 at 10:43:32 AM PDT

  •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

    Um - is there some pressing reason they cannot all vote 'PRESENT" and completely undercut this silly game?

    Or am I missing something?

    The Democratic Party. Never has so much been squandered so quickly for so little.

    by GayIthacan on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:07:40 AM PDT

  •  I think Dems should vote present. nt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter
  •  The GOP ploy is easily countered (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    by doing a turnaround. Introduce an alternative bill:

    The Congress finds that a deficit resulting from the prior administration's tax cuts and excessive spending on business subsidies and the military necessitates an increase in the statutory debt limit of $2,406,000,000,000.

    'nuff said.

    Conservatism explained: Carrots for the rich and the corporate. Sticks for the workers and the poor. It really is that simple.

    by DaveW on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:15:34 AM PDT

  •  Apparently, Democrats WANT to slash Medicare. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Duncan Lewis

    NO ONE is as stupid as Democrats are pretending to be.

    If Democrats were serious about putting up a fight on the debt limit, they'd already have been accusing Republicans of threatening to cut off funding for our troops on the battlefield.

    That hasn't happened.

    The fact that Democrats have NOT turned this issue into the third rail for Republicans simply means that Democrats WANT to use it to continue to fund tax cuts for the rich with cuts to Medicare.

    This is it for me. If this all turns out to be some kind of good cop-bad cop and Democrats buckle on cuts to Medicare and use Ryan as cover for implementing Simpson's Catfood Commission report, then I will have voted for my last Democrat.

    And, needless to say, I'll have to quit Daily Kos, since I will no longer believe in its mission to elect more, or even beter, Democrats.

    Each time a person stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope... --RFK

    by expatjourno on Tue May 31, 2011 at 11:22:13 AM PDT

    •  I know how you feel (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      or perhaps I should say I tend to agree with your thinking. I increasingly find myself to be an outright socialist compared to most of the Dems in congress.

      As Bill Maher has said, the only difference between the Democrats and Republicans is that the Dems are beholden to a slightly less group of special interests.  I think the distinction is becoming less clear.

      On the other hand, I think the country would be a far different and better place if f Al Gore had been allowed to claim his victory in 2000.

      On yet another hand, I have sometimes wondered if the Democrats are actually more dangerous than the Republicans. The Dems like to present themselves as the antidote to the extremism of the Republicans, placating so many reasonable and well-intentioned voters, while the Republicans are more transparent about what they want. So we vote Democratic, and  then we get extensions to the Patriot Act and discussions of just how much of Medicare to cut . . . .

  •  Dude (2+ / 0-)

    If the game is rigged just don't play.  Take a clue from Wisconsin and not show up.

  •  Thanks. (0+ / 0-)

    I am off work today, and watching MSNBC. If there has been a mention of the telling language of the bill, I haven't seen it. Even the portion of the White House press briefing didn't mention it.

    Either way, I don't think this vote will have quite the impact that the Republican circular firing squad vote on Medicare will have.

  •  I really don't think that's a good idea (0+ / 0-)

    "This is nothing more than a message bill, and as such, every single Democrat who votes today should vote against it. "

    It doesn't matter how clearly they make their statements, the vote will be billed as proof that a clean bill is impossible, which is what Republicans are aiming for. Yes, the language is stupid, but no one is going to care about that.

  •  I think they should just vote present (0+ / 0-)

    if that's possible, or not vote at all.  The Democrats doing something similar with the Ryan plan in the Senate had a point, but this bill is a strawman that no one actually supports as written.  It's just a cheap attempt at "gotcha".

  •  So why doesn't Reid (0+ / 0-)

    propose a bill that increases the debt limit by the same amount since that is required to implement the Ryan plan???

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