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John Boehner chokes up before being sworn for his second term as Speaker of the House.
Well, wouldn't you also be upset if you had to lead today's House GOP?
Just a few days ago, House Speaker John Boehner backed off his debt limit threats by telling The Wall Street Journal that the debt limit was "not the ultimate leverage" for House Republicans seeking spending cuts. Instead:
Mr. Boehner says he has significant Republican support, including GOP defense hawks, on his side for letting the sequester do its work. "I got that in my back pocket," the speaker says. He is counting on the president's liberal base putting pressure on him when cherished domestic programs face the sequester's sharp knife. Republican willingness to support the sequester, Mr. Boehner says, is "as much leverage as we're going to get."

That leverage, he reasons, is what will force Democrats to the table on entitlements. "Think of it this way. We already have an agreement [capping] discretionary spending for 10 years. And we're already in our second year of it. This whole discussion on the budget over the next several months is going to be about these entitlements."

So, in John Boehner's world, Republicans are perfectly willing to let the sequester's spending cuts move forward unless Democrats are willing to axe Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid to avoid them. He's found his BATNA and he's happy with it—or so he says.

Unfortunately for him, Boehner's running an obvious bluff. Don't ask me. Ask members of his own party:

One defense-minded Republican lawmaker said Boehner’s position would amount to a broken promise to his conference.

“In order to get the Republican Conference to pass the debt-limit increase last time, he promised them sequestration would not go in place,” the Republican House member said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. “To be using sequestration and these defense cuts in the next debt-limit talks certainly is pretty bad déjà vu for the Republican Conference.”

The lawmaker doubted Boehner had the support he claimed from Republican defense hawks.

“I believe the president wants sequestration cuts to occur, and the Republicans don’t,” the member said. “It is the No. 1 priority for the Armed Services Committee to stop.”

Similar sentiments were expressed by Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA) as well as an aide to the head of the Armed Services Committee. In other words, Boehner has it exactly wrong: when it comes to the sequester, Democrats, not Republicans, have the leverage.

From Boehner's perspective, the worst thing about this is that not only are members of his conference already undercutting his negotiating posture on the sequester, he can't take back his admission that the debt limit wasn't the GOP's "ultimate point of leverage." Basically, Boehner was calling his own debt limit bluff—and now his colleagues are calling his sequester bluff. No matter how you look at it, Boehner is in a weak position, a fact that should give Democrats the courage to hold their ground.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:01 AM PST.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Great post-the operative word here (18+ / 0-)
    No matter how you look at it, Boehner is in a weak position, a fact that should give Democrats the courage to hold their ground.
    is "should."  

    The thing about democracy, beloveds, is that it is not neat, orderly, or quiet. It requires a certain relish for confusion. Molly Ivins

    by MufsMom on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:14:41 AM PST

    •  That instantly jumped out at me, too. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark, Rolfyboy6

      In big, bold, bright, annoying colors.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:46:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Obama WILL Capitulate! (0+ / 0-)

        When has he ever NOT capitulated at the last minute? Over taxes, Harry Reid had the Republicans by the short hairs. He was going to force them to agree to the $250,000 tax threshold because when push comes to shove the GOP CANNOT block tax cuts or impose a tax increase on 98% of the people!

        They just can't sustain opposition to popular tax cuts for long without losing their entire "anti-tax" brand, so they were GOING TO FOLD!

        Then, at the last minute, Obama swooped in and gave them another unilateral concession! Needlessly. He grabbed defeat from the jaws of victory -- once again, and walked all over Reid and Pelosi to do it.

        Who nominated these idiots Simpson & Bowles? Who constantly refers to their "commission report" when there NEVER WAS a Bowles-Simpson Commission report or any recommendations from it because they couldn't agree!

        Why doesn't Obama ever point out that "Social Security doesn't contribute ONE DIME to the deficit, and therefore I will not negotiate ANY changes to S.S. in the context of budget negotiations", instead of putting S.S. "on the table?"

        At some point, we just have to admit Obama isn't a "bad negotiator". He WANTS these cuts to popular programs, and nothing else can explain his behavior.
        Only he knows he will face a revolt from Democrats if he just comes out for them, so he tries to get into a situation where he will be "forced" to make concessions.

        And he refuses to fight back against the right-wing framing of these issues. Why are we even TALKING about deficit reduction amid massive unemployment and amidst the worst recession in 50 years? That's all he really needed to say from 2009 on. "We must address jobs and then the economy rise will take care of most of our deficit problems. The austerity Republicans keep demanding will only make things worse, not better. "

    •  This is why they will opt to shut down government (7+ / 0-)

      In the end the debt limit is just too scary for business and the sequester is bad for the defense contractors who have bankrolled so many congressmen.  So they will stake all on refusing to extend the continuing resolution to fund the government, a familiar tactic that worked so well for Newt Gingrich.

      Need we any more proof that the GOP has no strategy here, no vision other than hurting Obama and hurting the 47%, including those who are their constituents.  They are operating within an ideologically rigid bubble that leaves them few choices and leaves the reality-based community shaking their heads.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:05:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The only thing Republicans hate more than taxes... (16+ / 0-)

    is cuts to defense spending.

    A majority of them still feel the U.S. does not spend enough on defense.

    If Boehner thinks he has leverage with the sequester talks that he can force Democrats to cut things that are not even in the sequester agreement, in exchange for cuts to defense, he is going to face an even bigger blow back than the tax hikes he agreed to in December.

    If Boehner were a true leader, (or was of just average intelligence) he would cut the Tea Party loose, and govern from the middle using a minority of GOP and Dem votes to get "satisfactory to the majority of the country" legislation passed.  That would not only make him look effective, but it might also turn around GOP fortunes.

    Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

    by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:15:02 AM PST

    •  That is what has to................ (11+ / 0-)

      and will happen; just like with the "Fiscal Cliff" deal.  The Teabaggers will not vote for anything that is remotely sane or represents a compromise with the Dems and the POTUS.

      For the next two years any and all deals will be worked out between the Senate and White House.  All Boner will be able to  muster are bi-partisan votes to keep the federal government limping along with the help of Pelosi.

      The House is completely broken.  However, establishment Rethugs, Wall Street and the Banksters have no stomach for default or government shutdowns.

      Not much progress will be made on any front but the Baggers will not be allowed to  destroy the Federal Government no matter how much money the Kochs and Adleson throw at the Batshit crazy baggers.

      The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

      by cazcee on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:31:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Not only is the House broken (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        gmartini, blue aardvark, ColoTim

        but it's designed to remain that way until after 2020.

        Awesome.

        Atlas shrugged. Jesus wept.

        by trevzb on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:35:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wll, at least into (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          blue aardvark, majcmb1

          the mid-late 'teens. Population movement and such will fudge the exquisite gerrymandering even as demographics changes slowly swamp it.

          "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

          by ogre on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:47:33 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Problem with that is that (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ColoTim, trevzb

            apportionment and districting doesn't change until the new census, so any "blue people" moving into red states will probably only make the blue areas in red states bluer, leaving red districts overrepresented and in control.

            "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

            by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:59:31 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  There were some (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              bryduck

              districts that were competitive. Not many but some. A tanking of the GOP brand and changing demographics could change things by 2016 or 2018. Obviously better to win the House outright but even having a razor-thin GOP majority would help.

              Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

              by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:01:29 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I don't see it happening that soon. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                fenway49

                We had as good a year as we are likely to have until 2020 last year, and we didn't come close. We are verrrrry likely to lose the Senate in 2014, so even if we do retake the House, we'll be stuck in neutral anyway. Ymmv, of course.

                "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:07:10 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  We'll see (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  cazcee

                  We had a decent shot to lose the Senate in 2012 and that didn't happen. Of course that doesn't mean 2014 will be the same, but there's a lot left to happen.

                  What if they GOP jumps the shark on default? What if the GOP blinks and the Tea Party fanatics primary everyone in sight, giving us a bunch of unpalatable loonie candidates as opponents? I have no idea how it will play out but I'm not writing off the Senate yet. Or the House though obviously that will be tougher.

                  Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

                  by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:37:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  2014 Senate is a magnitude (0+ / 0-)

                    more difficult than 2012 was. Non-Presidential year and a far worse slate of states to defend--all red states that got redder in 2012.
                    Nobody cares about the default in the electorate; shark -jumping won't make a dent unless some really bad things happen in everyone's daily lives, and it's a crapshoot as to whether the Dems won't suffer for them!
                    I actually think the House is an easier task than the Senate before 2020, and the Tea Party is our only ally for either, really. That they are imploding is not good for us.

                    "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                    by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:47:01 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  Migration of folks isn't.................. (0+ / 0-)

              the only potential factor that will effect the demographics of the House and Senate races in 2014. Over 1 million native-born Hispanics will turn 18 in the next 22 month and over 2 million older Americans will die.  Of course, not all younger Hispanics will vote and vote Dem and not all older Americans always vote and vote Rethug; but those kinds of numbers are bound have a positive impact.

              The mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation--HDT

              by cazcee on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 01:51:49 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

      •  What may happen is threats of being primaried (0+ / 0-)

        from the left.

        If Americans for Prosperity can threaten a candidate with a well-financed primary, so can Goldman Sachs.

        Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

        by blue aardvark on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:53:45 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The House is broken (0+ / 0-)

        At least now we have a matched set on Capitol Hill.

        Yay.

        Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

        by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:58:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  and we work in the mean time to create... (0+ / 0-)

        ...the best possible results out of the 2014 race.

        .....it's on the table, under the watermelon she demurred. Thanks, I was planning on shaving anyway he replied.

        by pdx kirk on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:45:13 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Yep (4+ / 0-)

      This is where the Repubs are exposed as the phoney hypocrites they are when it comes to massive government spending/government job creation/welfare.
      I've said it before, I'll take the sequester over any bs "grand bargain" that involves cuts to SS and Medicare benefits-which President Obama, to my great disappointment, has already offered more than once now in the form of chained CPI and raising the Medicare eligibility age.  
      I still find that deeply disturbing.  If you say that cuts to social safety net benefits are not on the table, then you never, ever offer them to the hostage takers.  One of these days, they just might accept the offer.  
      In addition, this could be our only chance to tame the monstrous MIC beast.

      •  I have realized that the President wants to... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Mr MadAsHell, blue aardvark, pdx kirk

        bring the deficit under control.  Not just for political reasons, but for sound economic ones as well. It is an area I am in full agreement with him.   No country, no matter how rich can continue to run trillion dollar deficits for a prolonged period of time.

        I think Obama is prepared to make cuts to the safety net in exchange for cuts to defense spending and increases in the tax rates on the 2%.

        That is where he has the advantage over the Republicans in the upcoming sequester talks; defense spending will be cut if Republicans refuse to negotiate just as in the case of tax increases.

        What I expect to see in the up-coming negotiations is Obama putting the safety net on the table in exchange for tax increases.  If he doesn't get those, the cuts to the net are unlikely to happen.

        But be prepared for the offer.

        Tax and Spend I can understand. I can even understand Borrow and Spend. But Borrow and give Billionaires tax cuts? That I have a problem with.

        by LiberalCanuck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:43:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not too sure that's so true anymore. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      blue aardvark

      I think for the modern Republican party, taxes--well, their elimination, at any rate--trump all. I will grant you, it's hard to tell, since the Dems don't want to push them to that wall, ever.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:48:45 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  There are some GOPers in the pocket of defense (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bryduck

        contractors, particularly those from areas with lots of defense installations and companies, like the San Diego cabal.  They seem to hold office for the sole purpose of greasing the skids for more and more defense appropriations and contractors.  But many of the rest might support some cuts.

        The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

        by Mimikatz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:16:11 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  True enough, although that (0+ / 0-)

          probably isn't enough to overwhelm the tax issue (imho, of course), and besides, there are plenty of Dems that are in those pockets, too.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:18:19 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Plan 'C'....only 23 more letters to go..then we do (7+ / 0-)

    the alphanumeric thingy.

  •  First Time for Everything (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    JML9999, blue aardvark, ColoTim

    Boehner is in a weak position, a fact that should give Democrats the courage to hold their ground

    It should.  Sadly, it never does.

  •  Here's The Thing, Obama's Back Pocket Is BIGGER (6+ / 0-)

    And he's got a few hole cards in there, possibly some aces, including:

    Much more savings than anticipated from drawing down Afghanistan.  Much more savings than anticipated from restructuring of the M/M to Health Homes model. He can use this extra cash to offset any of the cuts for sequestration.

    I think Obama is MUCH more willing to just let the sequestration take effect now that he has PROTECTED the most vulnerable among us with extended UI, food stamps etc. and locked in lower rates for the middle class.

    He has raised taxes on the wealthy and so have MORE revenue coming in.

    Obama is ready and prepared to let sequester happen if necessary, and has plans to help the most critical discretionary programs with funds from other savings.

    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

    by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:29:21 AM PST

    •  I am totally unsure as to what, if anything, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ColoTim

      Obama will "let happen", since it appears that his desire to "do something" overrides any political motives or policy objectives. He seems to prize control above all else, and letting things happen runs counter to that feeling.

      "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

      by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:54:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  He Already DID Something (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ColoTim

        He set up the sequester scenario, and now he's letting it run it's course.

        This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

        by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:00:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  We'll see. He still likes him some (0+ / 0-)

          Grand Bargains, and he isn't known for leaving things well enough alone.

          "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

          by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:03:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Really? How So? (0+ / 0-)

            So far, there's been no grand bargain by the guy who supposedly loves them so much.

            This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

            by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:06:46 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Everything he's done has had (0+ / 0-)

              unrelated stuff jammed into the negotiations, if not the final compromise. Debt ceiling talks last time had UI and sequestering and I can't remember what else. Bush tax cut expirations this time around had UI, delay of sequestration, payroll taxes, and some spending issues tied up into it, too. The first Bush tax cuts compromise had spending cuts and annual budget stuff in it.
              You can certainly argue that this is how it's always done, to be sure, but that only sidesteps the fact that Obama, too, does it that way.

              "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

              by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:14:39 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Somehow, They Never Become Policy, Do They? (0+ / 0-)

                Funny that.

                This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

                by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:40:28 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  But I only brought up (0+ / 0-)

                  the bills and their contents that were passed . . .

                  "Lone catch of the moon, the roots of the sigh of an idea there will be the outcome may be why?"--from a spam diary entitled "The Vast World."

                  by bryduck on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:42:01 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  The Added Things That Get Passed (0+ / 0-)

                    Are all good stuff, UI, Food Stamps Etc.  I got no problem with that.

                    This post is dedicated to myself, without whom, I'd be somebody else. Though I'd still be an asshole. My Music: [http://www.myspace.com/beetwasher]

                    by Beetwasher on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:49:06 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

            •  It doesn't appear to be through lack of trying (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              limpidglass

              It appears to me to be more a case of the Republicans refusing to take "yes" for an answer.

  •  If Republicans want to cut entitlements (7+ / 0-)

    Why do they keep asking Democrats to go first?

    "Historically, the most terrible things--war, genocide and slavery--have resulted not from disobedience, but from obedience." --Howard Zinn

    by NCJan on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:31:41 AM PST

  •  Boehner is looking more and more like a character (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, pdx kirk

    in a Sartrean satire, "hell is other people," could be Boehner's mantra. It is impossible to satisfy the wilfully ignorant, intransigent and paranoid Republican "T-Party" caucus. Working with Pelosi to govern is political suicide for Boehner and being seen as placating the "Kenyan Socialist usurper," is beyond the pale for these pathological mental pygmies.

    Militarizing American society and holding it hostage to perpetual fear and war, is the root of the Republican pathology. Remove the War-Defense-Security-Finance props and the stage that Republicans stand on will collapse.

    It is time to cut this cancer of fear and greed from the soul of America, I hope we have the courage to do so.

    "Intelligence is quickness in seeing things as they are..." George Santayana

    by KJG52 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:36:28 AM PST

  •  Boehner and Pres Obama will negotiate over (0+ / 0-)

    sequester cuts not the debt ceiling.  Pres wants a clean debt ceiling raise to send the message to the markets that the hostage taking silliness is over.  So the plan is to give the GOP their hostage in the sequester cuts - problem being that the Boehner caucus isn't in on the game here.  Pres Obama will come out and say the sequester cuts are bad, bad, bad - that it will make our country unsafe and make deep cuts to many domestic programs liberals love so he had no choice but to cut a deal making changes to medicare, SS and medicaid in return for new revenues by way of closing loopholes and changes to the tax code.  

    President Obama would have been a Republican in the 1980's.

    by Jacoby Jonze on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:37:15 AM PST

  •  Oh, this is just too rich (9+ / 0-)
    “In order to get the Republican Conference to pass the debt-limit increase last time, he promised them sequestration would not go in place,” the Republican House member said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.
    THE SEQUESTER WAS TIED AT THE HIP TO THE DEBT DEAL -- IT WAS THE DEBT DEAL -- IT WAS THE SPENDING CUT 'PRICE' THE REPUBLICANS DEMANDED.

    If you take the sequester away from the 2011 debt ceiling negotiations, you would be left with a clean bill raising the debt ceiling.

    If Boehner had wanted a debt deal with no sequester, he could have just passed a damned clean bill in the first place.

    This is just a blatant admission that Republicans have no interest in either (a) negotiating in good faith, or (b) actually doing any hard thinking on reducing the budget deficit.

    ad astra per alia porci

    by harrije on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:39:57 AM PST

  •  I'm sure Mr Boehner didn't break any promises. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    blue aardvark, ColoTim

    He probably just misspoke or maybe he was inelegant in his phrasing, cause that's what Republicans do sometimes. I'm sure he'll issue the standard non apology apology for any folks who might have been confused, sorry you folks are confused, but confused folks get these things wrong all the time.

    Who cares what banks may fail in Yonkers. Long as you've got a kiss that conquers.

    by rasbobbo on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:47:41 AM PST

  •  I don't understand Boehner's comment... (5+ / 0-)

    On its face value.  Let's assume his caucus is willing to let the sequester cuts happen.  Bully for them.  How does it give him leverage against the Democrats to accept even further cuts against earned benefits?  Democrats are going to allow a bill to be passed that is even more draconian than sequester?  I don't get it.  Sounds like a bluff to me - hoping the media repeats it verbatim.

    'Goodwill' between the GOP and the President is as abundant as unicorn farts - Me'

    by RichM on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:51:21 AM PST

    •  Exactly (3+ / 0-)

      I've never understood why people were screaming Obama had weakened his position with the deal. He got a large chunk of the revenue he was seeking secured, and he had some of the programs like UI, that were not exempted in the sequester secured.

      If they go over the cliff now, those parts that would've been most hurtfull to the economy, have been taken out, SS and Medicaid are exempt. Medicare cuts are limited to 2% and only to providers.

      If the Republicans weren't willing to go over the cliff and nothing they care about has been taken out of the sequester, why would it be a good deal for them to go over the cliff now?

    •  There is no real strategy here (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      RichM, Beetwasher, pdx kirk

      Just a series of hostage tactics.  The problem is the GOPsters' lack of understanding of economics, arithmetic and budgeting.  What they propose never adds up, whether it is Ryan, Romney or Boehner.  They need Obama to propose cuts to benefit programs partly so they can blame him for them, but also because they don't really have any idea how to cut these programs other than raising the benefit age or cutting the benefits or privatizing the programs.  They have no idea how to cut health care costs and are on record opposing all of the reforms that are actually bringing costs down.

      They are in an ideological cul-de-sac from which there is no real way out.

      The scientific uncertainty doesn't mean that climate change isn't actually happening.

      by Mimikatz on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:28:43 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  More than Boehner's position is weak (6+ / 0-)

    He is weak. Nancy Pelosi would not be screwing this up this badly if she was in his shoes.

    Economics is a social *science*. Can we base future economic decisions on math?

    by blue aardvark on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 08:51:40 AM PST

  •  I'm glad (4+ / 0-)
    when it comes to the sequester, Democrats, not Republicans, have the leverage.
    this is finally being recognized.  There was an awful lot of teeth-gnashing that the Prez had given up their advantage in the fiscal cliff agreement.

    Regarding this

    Republican willingness to support the sequester, Mr. Boehner says, is "as much leverage as we're going to get."

    That leverage, he reasons, is what will force Democrats to the table on entitlements.

    If the sequester cuts go through, why in the world would Beohner think this?  Earned Benefits (aka entitlements) are already protected from the sequester cuts.

    Dumb Boehner,  really dumb.  You have no leverage when it comes to forcing Earned Benefit cuts.

    •  Debt limit increase is still the GOP's leverage. (0+ / 0-)

      This post refers to Boehner's delusions, not reality.

      it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

      by Addison on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:04:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Debt limit increase is no GOP leverage at all. (0+ / 0-)

        The Dems aren't negotiating the debt limit, so it's the GOP that has everything to lose if they refuse to raise it and drive the country into default.

        •  We'll see. Some Dems say they won't negotiate... (0+ / 0-)

          ...but the GOP says that, too. Something's got to give. And it will likely be the President in exchange for chained CPI, a rise in Medicare eligibility age, or something similar.

          it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses

          by Addison on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:27:05 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Does anyone have a simple list (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdx kirk, asdfwasnotavailable

      of what non-defense programs would be hit by the sequester cuts?

      It seems to me there are two reasons to worry about the sequestration cuts. First, the macroeconomic drag they will bring, no matter what they actually cut. The fiscal cliff problem was austerity from both sides, the tax increases on already-strapped households (which happened anyway via expiration of payroll tax cut), and the spending cuts. Having the spending cuts take place will reduce demand at a time we need stimulus instead.

      The second issue relates to the specific cuts. Some things we don't want cut may be cut. That's why I'm trying to grasp details. As I understand it, UI, Medicaid, CHIP Soc. Sec., and veteran's benefits are exempt, but what exactly would be cut? I believe it calls for Medicare cuts of up to 2% of program spending.

      Do we think Jack Lew can identify less harmful cuts to make? If so, we hold even more cards.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:12:05 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Does anyone have a simple list (0+ / 0-)

      of what non-defense programs would be cut?

      It seems there are two reasons the sequester cuts would be bad. First, they reduce demand in a weak economy. The "fiscal cliff" problem had two components: the tax hikes on already-strapped people (which sort of happened anyway with the expiration of the payroll tax cut), and these cuts. So they would be a drag on growth if they happen.

      Second is what actually would be cut that we don't want cut. As I understand it, Medicare would be subject to cuts up to 2% of program spending, but Medicaid, CHIP, Soc. Sec. and veterans' benefits are exempt, as are specific programs for low-income people. So what's on the block specifically?

      And do we trust Jack Lew to target cuts in the least harmful way (WH released its report with proposed cuts in Sept. but it's too long for me to read)? If so, we hold even more of the cards.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:22:52 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The sequester is going to become the new Doc fix (0+ / 0-)

    They are going to keep kicking those cuts down the road. Don't be surprised if come March, the sequester deadline gets pushed to June.

  •  This is not the time for spending cuts. It is (1+ / 0-)

    faulty economics, but if we are going to have spending cuts regardless of the bad economics then the sequester looks better than most of the alternatives I've seen.

    Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

    by ratcityreprobate on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:04:10 AM PST

  •  problem for boehner = SS & Medicare EXEMPT frm seq (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    fenway49
    ...he president's liberal base putting pressure on him when cherished domestic programs face the sequester's sharp knife. ..
    Sequester exempts SS and Medicare

    yeah it sucks that park rangers will get hit etc but the sacred cows wont be

    Boehner forgot to read the fine print

    •  I thought it was Medicaid (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdx kirk, DEMonrat ankle biter

      that was exempt, with the possibility of some cuts to Medicare, up to a cap of 2% of the program's FY 2012 spending.

      But, yes, a lot of programs we really want to protect are exempt. I don't see pressure from the left to prioritize protecting what would be cut over protecting the exempted programs.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:14:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Buck Mckeon and John Mccain hold (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DEMonrat ankle biter

    too much weight and influence that there will soon be sizable leakage among republicans, particularly in the House. There are probably 100 national security hawks in the House who can't stomach the sequester, and, unfortunately for Boehner, they believe that Obama actually likes the sequester cause he's hellbent on slashing defense. How I wish that were true.

    The script will be the same, i.e. Boehner will flip and do his usual Plan B on the sequester at the last minute, which will be so unpalatable to democrats that they ignore it. That will be followed by whining and crying that Obama isn't doing anything about the cuts.

    Unlike previous deals, I actually think the automatic mechanism in this case (sequester) has a chance of staying in effect. Its either that or more revenue, and I think republicans are basically done with revenues. So they have 2 versions of hell to choose from, defense cuts or revenue increases.

    •  Depends (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      pdx kirk
      Unlike previous deals, I actually think the automatic mechanism in this case (sequester) has a chance of staying in effect. Its either that or more revenue, and I think republicans are basically done with revenues. So they have 2 versions of hell to choose from, defense cuts or revenue increases.
      The sequester might happen, but they may hear from lobbyists/constituents to give in on revenues rather than allow the defense cuts.

      Republicans...think the American standard of living is a fine thing--so long as it doesn't spread to all the people. And they admire the Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it. Harry S. Truman

      by fenway49 on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:16:40 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Shorter Boehner: (4+ / 0-)

    If you don't give in to our demands to cut the safety net, we'll be forced to gut military spending!"

    Please, Boehn'r Bear, DON'T DO IT!

    DON'T THROW DEMOCRATS INTO THAT BRIAR PATCH!

    fpg

  •  Boehner would do better (0+ / 0-)

    ..jumping back on the anti-contraception bandwagon.

    At least there he has some support in his so-called "Party."

    Poor people have too much money and vote too often. Republican platform plank, 1980 - present

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 09:56:04 AM PST

  •  Suppose we cut the defense budget by 50% (0+ / 0-)

    I'm not saying we should, but suppose we did. Would this embolden any nation to attack us? Would India or China, for example, launch a war of conquest on us?

    A couple of decades ago, we talked about a peace dividend. With the Cold War a thing of the past, we could curtail military spending and concentrate on domestic issues.

    Ike was right to warn against the military-industrial complex. We have become a nation whose primary export is war.

    Note to Boehner and McConnell: "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." --Bob Dylan-- (-7.25, -6.21)

    by Tim DeLaney on Thu Jan 10, 2013 at 10:05:13 AM PST

    •  Given a choice (0+ / 0-)

      What would the average American prefer:

      1) Massive cuts to social programs that directly impact him/her (or those he/she knows); or

      2) Cuts to a massive "defense" program that only promotes a misguided sense of "safety" due to our outsized military advantage v. the rest of the world?

      I have to think that if push came to shove, a large majority would take option 2 in a heartbeat. In this economy, more people than ever are receiving direct government assistance, or know someone who is.

  •  Can Sarge Hagel persuade voters defense cuts R OK? (0+ / 0-)

    Or can he at least make Republican House fear that he can persuade voters of this?

    If either of these is true, then nominating & supporting Hagel greatly strengthens Obama's bargaining power on sequestration and alternatives to it.

  •  Boehner bluffing; hopefully Obama is too (0+ / 0-)

    Boehner is bluffing in multiple directions, since he needs to assure many big contributors that he is not truly threatening Obama with refusal to raise the debt ceiling (even though he is probably continuing to make this threat in non-public communications with Obama).

    Obama gains bargaining power by indicating to Boehner the acceptability of implementing the sequester, but I hope this this a bluff by Obama.

    My reasoning is that the first consequence of implementing the sequester would be to push economic growth down and unemployment up, which was Republicans' Plan A to prevent Obama's re-election.  The same logic suggests that Democratic candidates in 2014 and 2016 will be weakened if -- under a Democratic President -- economic growth is down and unemployment up during the next 2-4 years.

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