House Republicans huddled with President Obama Wednesday morning and afterward cited little if any progress in reaching an agreement to raise the nation's debt ceiling or reduce spiraling deficits.Were I an adviser to Pres. Obama, I would offer a completely different strategy.
Don't meet with them at all. Don't talk to them. Spend every waking hour, and a few while most folks are asleep, getting the message out that the Republicans in the House of Representatives are using the debt ceiling vote as a tool to gut programs people like and the country needs. I would make the case like this: Either the Republicans are bluffing because they know the United States cannot default on its sovereign debt, or they are irresponsible enough to believe that default is a live option. If the former is the case, they are not to be taken seriously because they will raise the debt ceiling. If the latter is the case, they are not to be taken seriously because they threaten not only the United States' economy, but a large patch of the world's economy. In either case, they are not to be taken seriously.
If this strategy were used, the Republicans, of course, would howl and scream. Let them. The US needs to pay its creditors (bond holders), and deficits are not "spiraling"; indeed, had Congress acted in a responsible manner, and unemployment were down rather than hover at or near 9% for a couple years, the deficit would be relatively mild.
While White House spokesman Jay Carney played down yesterday's vote and insisted the Republicans would "do the right thing", that goes against recent history of what Republicans do when given power in Congress, so don't consider me hopeful. The fact that Pres. Obama is "meeting" and "talking" with House Republicans, rather than ignoring them, at least on this matter at this point, is a prelude to one disaster or another.