Two leading House conservatives told The Washington Post on Tuesday they do not want House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) to move toward a dramatic standoff on the debt limit, signaling a break from the combative fiscal politics they have long championed.It doesn't exactly take a rocket scientist to figure out that Boehner should listen to what Labrador and Amash are saying, but then again nobody has ever accused tea partiers in the House of being rocket scientists, or even close. The calculation here is obvious.
“We should bring up a clean debt ceiling, let the Democrats pass it, and just move on,” Rep. Raul Labrador (R-Idaho) said. “Our constituents are fed up with the political theater. If we’re not going to fight for something specific, we might as well let the Democrats own it.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) agreed. “It’s theater,” he said, commenting on the latest flurry of stories about possible GOP plans. “It’s going to end up being clean anyway. I don’t see anything they can put on the table that I would support as some sort of tradeoff.”
- Everybody knows the debt limit needs to be raised in order to avert economic catastrophe.
- Everybody knows that neither President Obama nor congressional Democrats are going to set a precedent that Republicans can get away with wearing a virtual suicide vest to gain bargaining leverage.
- Everybody knows that Republicans would take the blame if they detonated the debt ceiling bomb (for proof, see this poll).
You put those three things together and it's obvious to everybody with a pulse that Republicans are going to cave. And what Labrador and Amash are basically saying is that the sooner Boehner stops pretending that he's going to put up a fight, the sooner he's going to stop looking like a fool. For once, I can't argue with a tea party congressman.