Obama Must Resist GOP Economic Terrorism

Raise your hand if you want me to tell the GOP to go frack themselves!

Under no circumstances should Obama give in to the GOP demands on the debt ceiling. Even if it were to mean that the country goes into a true default for the first time in its history, let it happen.


First, there’s a reason the official policy of the United States is not to negotiate with terrorists. Once they get what they want the demands will only increase with each success and they will never stop.

The GOP has, at long last, become the economic terrorists they were destined to be. If there was another path for them to take they missed it a long time ago. Now, they only understand the black and white world of the fanatic and the child. With the ascendency of the Tea Party in the GOP, the nuanced reality where adults have learned how to bargain is simply beyond their grasp.

This became perfectly clear when the Republicans threatened to shut down the government over the budget unless they got everything they wanted. Everything. Even completely non-budget related social issues like defunding Planned Parenthood and when they didn’t get it all, their base threw a temper tantrum and called them traitors. The Republicans were traitors for accepting an incredibly unequal compromise that gave as little as possible to Obama while they took him to the cleaners. Really.

But then, that the GOP had degenerated to fanaticism was perfectly clear even earlier when the GOP abused the filibuster to block as many Democratic bills as possible. When the minority party dominates the agenda, there is something deeply wrong. The fact that they paid no political price for breaking Congress and were, in fact, rewarded for their intransigence was a sign of things to come.

Now, they have chosen to manufacture a “crisis” over a routine housekeeping task. The whole point of this exercise in economic terrorism is to force massive spending cuts to programs the GOP hates while conceding absolutely nothing. Not even an end to subsidies to the Big Oil, the most profitable industry to ever exist. Read that again: We are giving tax payer money to the industry that, after all other expenses are covered (payroll, taxes, bribes, etc.) STILL makes more money than every single other industry that has ever made a profit in the entire history of the world. These are the people the Republicans demand we give our money to while simultaneously demanding we cut payments to the elderly and sick. Cut everything, raise no taxes or we WILL shut down the government.

“Do what we say or the economy gets it.” Economic terrorism. Is there any other way to describe it?

The second reason Obama should let the Republicans carry out their temper tantrum is far more cynical. The GOP will finally pay a price for their fanaticism and Obama has badly outmaneuvered them on this point, so far. He has forced them into a position, by playing to their ego and intransigence, where they cannot accept any deal Obama offers because Obama is the one offering it. Especially if it raises taxes or ends any subsidies whatsoever. Obama is offering them more cuts than in the original GOP ransom note proposal and they just can’t take it. It would seem like too much of a victory for Obama and that is simply too much to countenance. Remember, the number one priority of the Republican Party is to make Obama a one term president and they are pursuing that goal with the single mindedness of a five year old chasing a ball into a busy street. With similar results.

And so Obama is playing them for suckers. He’s given them a choice between A. Shutting down the government which will devastate the country and any chance the GOP has of winning elections next year, B. Taking his Grand Bargain which will make Obama look like the only adult in the room while the GOP throws a public hissy fit over making any concessions, C. Taking a lesser deal with less tax hikes in it that will still prove the GOP declaration that increasing revenue will destroy all of time and space to be as phony as their concern for Main St. and D. Ending the phony “crisis” with no concessions from either side which will make the GOP look like the fools they are. Even if the Republicans decide to take it all the way and actually shut down the government rather than budge an inch that would still be a more desirable outcome than Obama giving in.

Better to take the pain now and let the Republicans commit electoral suicide than to let them run the country by holding the economy hostage. Otherwise, every budget bill, every debt ceiling increase will be an excuse for the GOP to make outrageous demands. They’ll threaten to shut it all down until they get what they want at every oppotunity. Each time, it will become easier and easier for them to make their demands because precedence will have been set and the public will not have the stomach to keep fighting if it’s just simpler to give the GOP what they want.

It’s still possible that Obama will blink at the very end and give whatever concessions he needs to prevent the shutdown and get nothing in return. To that I say: Don’t do it! Yes, you will avoid the damage of a shutdown but the GOP will only threaten to do it again and again. It’s not compromise when you do it under duress; it’s appeasement and it never works. Trust enough of the country to know who is making this happen and let the GOP reap what they sow. They deserve it and we deserve better.

Edited by Sherri Yarbrough

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