One Step Forward, Two Backwards

Some people just never learn. Barely a week after the GOP agreed to a budget deal that signaled their willingness to acknowledge what Paul Ryan said during an interview, that “elections have consequences,” they are once more contemplating the unthinkable.

Both Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan have stated they plan on extracting concessions from President Obama and Democrats as a ransom for raising the debt ceiling.

Yep, you heard right.

Incredibly, the Party that bore the brunt of the blame for the government shutdown and near debt-ceiling default is actually thinking of revisiting their Waterloo. Like an addict who can’t get clean, the GOP is hopelessly trapped in a failed strategy. Ironically, it itself is being held hostage by the very faction it created three years ago.

On Fox News Sunday, Ryan said, “We don’t want nothing out of this debt limit. We are going to decide what it is we can accomplish out this debt-limit fight.” Ryan's use of double negatives notwithstanding, this stance is a complete reversal from the tone he was using only days earlier.

Not to be outdone, McConnell elaborated a bit further. “I doubt if the House or, for that matter, the Senate is willing to give the President a clean debt ceiling increase,” he told Capitol Hill reporters. “Every time the President asks us to raise the debt ceiling is a good time to try to achieve something important for the country.”

It’s difficult to figure out the motives behind this latest, foolish bravado from Ryan and McConnell. Both could simply be reacting to the flack they’re getting from the far Right over the budget deal, which is expected to pass the Senate after breezing through the House. McConnell, in particular, is facing a stiff primary challenge.  As for Ryan, his stock had dropped considerably among the wingnuts since he announced that agreement with his Senate counterpart, Patty Murray. Mark Levin ripped him a new one on his radio show the other day. What better way for both to get back into good graces than by throwing the base a bone loaded with fresh, red meat?

It’s hard to imagine the Republicans being crazy enough to go down this yellowbrick road again, but then only a few days ago, I was actually hopeful that this Congress might start doing its job.

Silly me.