Friday, July 15, 2011

One additional thought on the laughable debt ceiling compromise

The more Republicans that defect from the compromise, the more the compromise proposal should favor Democrats, because Democratic votes become increasingly necessary to pass the thing. As much of the GOP cuts itself out of the bargain, the equilibrium point moves left.

But that's not what actually ended up happening. Instead, the more Republicans that defected from the compromise, the more the compromise proposal moved right, as the White House and Democratic leadership ineptly tried to win back those lost votes. The votes never will come back, though -- for all the chasing the Democrats have done, a good 80-100 Republicans will probably never vote to raise the debt ceiling. And in giving chase, the Democrats only gave Republicans more incentive to never compromise, because the GOP knows it doesn't risk turning the issue over to its own moderates and the Democratic caucus.

All this is fairly obvious to anyone who understands that a negotiated outcome is a function of the preferences of the participants in the negotiation. But Washington speaks its own language, in which irrelevant things like "bipartisan cover" and "taking a case to the voters" and "owning the issue" are ascribed almost mystical importance. Meanwhile, the simple logic of offer and counteroffer is laughed off and forgotten. I'm firmly of the opinion that all the best thinking about politics comes from people who remain -- mentally, if not physically -- outside the beltway; the political circuit's cognitive quirks can corrupt anyone's ability to understand Congress as anything more than a hypertrophied debate club.

1 comment:

  1. A thought:

    The house currently sits at 240-192, according to my math 25 republicans vote with the Dems then the debt ceiling gets raised. 25 out of 240 that is an insane amount of party loyalty.

    Here's another thought:

    Whatever deal get made I think 80-100 republican house members will vote against it. Lets say your the 50 or so reasonable house republicans, dont you sort of realize that at the end of the day you will be voting to raise the debt ceiling (or abstaining) and a majority of your party isnt voting with you? Either way I think your still vulnerable to being primaried by tea-partiers merely for not voting down the debt ceiling. No matter what the deal is (and it will be an amazing one) you are still the guy that made the deal with Obama. Can Obama get at these 50 or so reasonable people and explain that no matter what the deal is they are still looking at trouble come primary season, so either make a reasonable deal now, or pledge to default. Im sorry but no matter what deal gets made i dont see more then 80-100 house republicans actually voting for it. Quit trying to make a deal with the republican party when the majority arent going to sign on no matter what it is.

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