The White Knight Scenario: What President Obama Should Do About The Debt Deadline

Barack Obama. Image from http://hpronline.org/hprgument/libya-and-american-leadership-kalb-frank-and-obama/

This debt ceiling debate has been long, arduous, and ridiculous. Democrats have made a good faith effort to compromise, even if that means putting Social Security and Medicare cuts on the negotiating table. Republicans on the other hand, have refused to give up any of their sacred cows. The debate really just hinges on tax revenues. That is what every Republican in Washington talks about these days. That they won’t vote for any deal that raises taxes. Their stubbornness will be politically disastrous.

As Republicans continue to storm out of negotiations, throw temper tantrums, take symbolic votes, and hold the nation hostage, Americans are taking note of just how arrogant and selfish the Republican Party is. The polls are overwhelmingly blaming Republicans for the coming default and shut down of the federal government. The American people are seeing the Republicans and the Tea Party for exactly what they are: temper tantrum throwing children. The threat of default and shut down is a scary and all too real prospect. But there is one scenario that could play out that could really anger Republicans and save the American people, while making the President look politically strong in the process. As the deadline looms, here is the possible scenario that could play out.

Congress has until midnight on August 2nd to pass a budget, but that will probably not happen since the Republican controlled House of Representatives is refusing to raise the debt ceiling. The Boehner Plan has been rejected in the Senate because it is an extremely partisan plan. And the Reid Plan has been rejected by the House. Congress could try for just a single page bill that raises the debt limit but House Republicans won’t be happy with that either. So what happens on August 2nd?

As midnight approaches, Americans all over the country and people all around the world will be watching with mixtures of hope and fear. Just before midnight, President Obama will address the people from the Oval Office. He will scold Republicans for their refusal to compromise at such a dire hour and express his disappointment that they were willing to drive America into a deep dark hole. Mr. Obama will then invoke the 14th amendment of the Constitution at the last moment to save the American economy for a second time and raise the debt ceiling as millions of Americans watch on live TV. He will quote the amendment directly, that “The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law…shall not be questioned.” This scenario would be a brilliant stroke of political genius. It would singlehandedly save America from calamity and also lay the blame for failing to compromise at the feet of the Republicans who will then scramble to spin it faster than ever. But the damage to the Republican Party will have already been done. As Republicans are looked upon as irresponsible brats that are incapable of governing, President Obama will be looked upon as the white knight that galloped in to save us in one of our darkest hours.

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The above scenario makes perfect sense. President Obama knows perfectly well what default would mean for the American future. He does not want to be the President that is associated with a default. Nor does he want Republicans to get their own way either. So what he will do is waiting until the last possible moment to get a compromise deal from Republicans, and when he does not get it, he will hit Republicans hard in front of the watching American audience. And Republicans will only be able to sit in disbelief as he takes them to the woodshed as up to over one hundred million Americans watch. He will then dash the plans of Republicans and the Tea Party by invoking the Constitution thus saving America from default and disaster. Republicans would be seen as the ones willing to destroy American standing in the world economy all because they did not want to raise taxes on the wealthy. Obama would be seen as a hero and as the man that stood above the nasty politics of the GOP. This scenario would mean a great fall for Republicans, and a great victory for President Obama and the Democratic Party. A masterpiece of political theater that would reverberate throughout the nation for many years to come. At the very least, this is something to hope for.