Friday, October 11, 2013

Boehner In A Box

In Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Mr. Spock enlists Captain Kirk's help in a mission to help the Klingons whose moon has suffered severe damage due to a massive explosion. Without help, the Klingon empire will collapse and their home world will be unable to sustain life.

Spock: Jim, there is an historic opportunity here.
Kirk: Don't believe them; don't trust them.
Spock: They're dying.
Kirk: Let them die.

Take away the facial makeup and the special effects and the GOP and the Klingon empire might as well be kissing cousins.  Funny how things turn out. Only a couple of years ago, thanks to the Tea Party, the Republicans were riding a wave as high as the Japanese tsunami. Now, thanks to that very same Tea Party, their approval numbers are at an all-time low. Worse, President Obama's approval numbers are rising. They are imploding and desperate for a way out of their predicament. Who will save them?

Unfortunately for John Boehner, there is no Mr. Spock to ride to the rescue this time around. Barack Obama and Harry Reid have him neatly boxed in. And, unless I've missed something, neither of them seem willing to let him out.

Boehner's latest scheme to release one of his two hostages - the debt ceiling - is nothing but a rouse. Both he and his "leadership" know full well that a default would be catastrophic for the nation. And just in case they don't, a number of their supporters have made it abundantly clear in the most simplest of terms. Strange how the most intransigent of politicians suddenly become amenable when the facts of life are "explained" to them.

To recap, Boehner is proposing a six week extension of the debt limit in return for a promise by Obama and Senate Democrats to agree to go to conference to "iron out" their differences. This was the same "offer" Boehner made to Reid two hours before the government shutdown took place. Naturally, of course, the shutdown remains in effect while the two sides hash out an agreement, which could mean Thanksgiving.

But, wait, it gets even better. According to The Daily Kos, there is a provision in the bill that, if passed, would severely limit the Treasury Department's ability to use "extraordinary measures to avoid default" through manipulation of certain funds and pensions. These steps buy precious time "while Congress debates terms for raising the debt ceiling."

Assuming there are enough Republican votes to pass it - Extremely Doubtful - Reid has said it is dead on arrival in the Senate. Instead, he is seeking to introduce his own legislation which would raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2014. The plan is to get six Republicans to join in and, thus, prevent a filibuster. If it passes, Boehner will once more have a decision to make: allow a straight up and down vote on the floor or continue allowing the Tea Party faction to hold his caucus and the nation hostage.

Either way, he's screwed.

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