“Hostage Taking 101”

Torture cheerleader Marc Thiessen gave a lesson on it earlier this week:

I’m all for taking hostages. Both sides do it all the time. But one of the first things they teach you in Hostage Taking 101 is that you have to choose a hostage the other side cares about saving. Obama and the Democrats don’t care about stopping a government shutdown. … By contrast, when it comes to the debt-limit showdown, they do have leverage; while Obama can let the government close and blame the GOP, he cannot allow the United States to default.

Galupo rightly calls Thiessen a thug. Chait worries that Republicans buy their own spin:

Conservative discourse on the debt ceiling is a chorus of cheering belligerence. I’ve seen no conservatives consider the possibility that Democrats actually believe their stated position, which is that giving in to debt-ceiling extortion would pave the way for endless future extortion and an eventual debt breach. They assert over and over that Democrats will fold, and seem to believe this.

Yglesias urges the president to hold firm:

[F]rom the standpoint of the country as a whole, a debt ceiling breach in 2013 is no more disastrous than a breach in 2017 or 2022. And the problem with “cutting a deal” with Republicans is that it essentially makes an eventual breach inevitable. If the hostage-taking gambit works, then it will be used over and over again until it goes wrong.

And Kilgore hopes Obama will pass a message on to Boehner:

Now I don’t know anything about the president’s relationship with Boehner. But it’s becoming a matter of national security for him to find some way to take him aside, maybe give the Speaker a cigarette from his secret stash, and say: “I will see you in Hell before I negotiate over the debt limit. And if you let a default happen, I will devote the rest of my presidency to making sure you, personally, bear the blame, and go down in history with our most despised traitors and criminals. For generations, little school children in Ohio will cross themselves and make hex signs when your name is mentioned. So do not, do not, go back and tell your crazy people they can win if they just stick together.”