Boehner reportedly wants “to craft a ‘grand bargain’ on fiscal issues as part of the debt-limit deliberations.” But any serious Grand Bargain would require serious revenue increases in return for lower and flatter rates – and the GOP has simply refused to countenance any whatsoever, and certainly doesn’t appear to be ready to do so now. It’s an obvious way, it seems to me, to try and salvage the situation by changing the subject and making the blackmail seem at least faintly related to fiscal matters … but I can see why Chait is dismissing the idea:
The thing to keep in mind is that there is essentially zero institutional support within the conservative movement for negotiating a budget deal with Obama. Even the “pragmatic” conservatives who pleaded against the shutdown, like Grover Norquist and The Wall Street Journal editorial page, adamantly oppose closing any tax loopholes, regardless of what spending cuts come along with it.
So: What happens when the defunders realize the budget deal is not going to destroy Obamacare, and the anti-defunders realize it is going to include higher taxes? The answer is that John Boehner gets run out of town on a rail. There’s nothing a deal like that could include — not even a provision impeaching Obama and deporting him to Kenya — that could make it acceptable to the right-wing base.
A grand bargain would have to entail entitlement reform about which Republicans are lukewarm, plus offsetting Democratic demands, plus raising the debt ceiling and reopening the government. Yet the Republicans floating the idea of a “grand bargain” don’t seem prepared for the “bargain” part. On what planet is this route easier than a deal that is limited to resolving the government shutdown?
It isn’t. It’s a transparent effort to play for time and shift the blame. What matters now above everything else is that the president wavers not a jot or tittle in demanding a clean CR, raising the debt ceiling and then, if the GOP is prepared to raise revenues, a Grand Bargain.
What matters in this present crisis is that we do not negotiate with economic terrorists. Everything else is irrelevant to that fundamental goal.
(Photo: Speaker John Boehner by Saul Loeb/Getty.)