The Return of the Blue Dogs?

Is the all but extinct brand of Democrat, the blue dog (which still exist as a small coalition), due for a comeback?   Lots of stories coming out about business leaders not being happy about the Tea Party antics being bad for the bottom line:

The shutdown, and the default scare that ensued, widened the fissure between Tea Party Republicans and the business establishment. Now business groups are considering fielding their own candidates in the 2014 Republican primaries and redirecting their ample resources to deposing Tea Party stalwarts like Amash. “We are going to get engaged,” says Scott Reed, senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which spent more than $35 million on elections in 2012, the vast majority of it on behalf of Republicans. “The need is now more than ever to elect people who understand the free market and not silliness.

One would think this is an opening for the Democrats to try to swoop in to claim some of the mantle of responsible governance, they apparently are trying:

The Wall Street Journal reports this morning that the DCCC sees an opportunity to exploit divisions within the Republican coalition. With Wall Street and corporate leaders apparently annoyed by their lack of influence in Republican circles, coupled with the rise of Tea Party dominance among GOP lawmakers, Democratic leaders are reminding the business community that it was Dems who were doing what’s right for the economy, while it’s Republicans who shut down the government and threatened a sovereign debt crisis


Sorry Democrats, just “reminding ” the business community you are more responsible is not going to cut it.  You need candidates who are going to be a farther to the right Democrat than you have now, you need the blue dogs back.  One would think a national party chairman would be wise to capitalize on this rift by running such candidates.  Instead, they are merely talking. 


The Debt Ceiling No Vote – The 2016 Debates

Imagine how the question plays to independents at the 2016 debates.

Moderator:  Did you think the vote to raise the debt ceiling on the eve of default was the right thing to do?

Senator Cruz:  No I don’t.  Millions of people were about to lose their health insurance or their jobs due to this abomination called Obamacare.  We needed to take a stand for the American people and tell President Obama he needed to delay implication of the law like he did for his union and corporate buddies.  This law was hurting the American people and Congress would not take a stand, so I did.  President Obama refused to listen to the American people and and refused to negotiate.  We almost defaulted because of his intransigence and in 2016 I will repeal Obamacare and restore the millions of jobs lost by this president. 

Hillary Clinton:  The one thing the nation demands from its president is that they always put their country first over any political fight.  Always.  Senator Cruz didn’t do that in 2013 and he won’t do that in 2016.  Senator Cruz actually cast a vote in the United States Senate to have our country default on our debts for the first time in our nation’s history because he did not like a law he did not have the votes to overturn. Think about that for a minute.  <pausing> The senator voted to put our nation’s economy in direct harm’s way because he didn’t get his way politically.  He voted for a default to occur that most economists said would have plunged our nation into a depression.   That is not “presidential” leadership.  That is not leadership at all, and by that vote alone the senator disqualified himself from having the judgment to be president of the United States. 

I think it’s pretty clear the no vote on the debt ceiling to pander to the tea party leaves any candidate who voted that way wide open to get a body blow in a debate. 


The House GOP – “Purity of vote for less of substance.”

The House looks to get jammed with a Senate Bill again.   This is why the failure to put out a House bill was such a defeat.  The notion that the tea-party caucus cannot agree to significant compromise of most any kind (even with establishment Republicans) results in less of their goals being achieved. 

 Bad tactics pointed out Allapundit at hot air:

Two thoughts in closing. One: Why did Heritage Action oppose Boehner’s final bill yesterday? The bill was, no doubt, a feeble compromise compared to the lofty ambitions of the “defund” movement, but the only alternative at that point was an even lamer Democratic-written bill in the Senate. By opposing Boehner, Heritage all but guaranteed that he wouldn’t have the votes to pass it, which ensured that Reid would dictate the final terms of the settlement. Where’s the logic in that?

This is similar to the last debt ceiling/budget standoff tactic from the house where they rejected a compromise position of tax increases at around 600-700k only to be forced to vote yes on 450k.  This is what happens to strategy when “compromise” becomes a bad word, you can easily get less.   Purity of vote for less of substance.  Not sure how many more times this lesson needs to be learned.

The Default is Obama’s Moment?

If the debt ceiling is not raised before default….is that Obama’s moment to issue an executive order raising it himself?  Some think so:

More to the point, such an action would be self-enforcing once issued.  President Obama would look like a strong leader, guiding the nation out of an impending disaster.  And once the debt ceiling was raised, Congress would be put in the position of needing to assemble a majority in both the House and the Senate willing to vote on record to undo the President’s actions, and thus ensuring default.  In other words, Congress would need to take positive action to ensure an economic crisis.  Such an act would be political suicide.

I’d have to agree. Obama would get a boost in the short term looking like the adult in this process and box the GOP in again by forcing them to actively push the nation into default to stop him.  Of course, this would play into the Obama is a dictator meme from many on the right and we’d likely still take a credit rating hit.  But I’d rather have that than a full default.  I think Obama has this as a Plan B he smartly disavowed as to not encourage a default onto his doorstep.  Stay tuned.


“Strategery” – How we are at the edge of default

le·ver·age: influence or power used to achieve a desired result

Much ink has been spilled over the strategy, or lack of, the GOP has employed with the shutdown.  A more fundamental error occurred before the the shut down was put into effect.  Misapplying the concept of leverage.  The conservative factions in the House believed they had “leverage” in causing a shut down and not raising the debt ceiling.  But in determining if one has leverage, the first two questions become: (1) what does the other party want? and (2) what happens if they don’t get it?

Answering these questions reveals the errors in thinking.  Obama and the Democrats want a budget/debt ceiling raise.  But these are defined as congressional jobs.  They are something Congress is expected to do, not something Congress has discretion to do.  Put simply, the GOP House is saying their point of leverage is offering Obama to do what they are expected to do.

To the second question, what happens if you use your point of leverage, when your bluff is called.  Economic catastrophe at worst, at best a serious downgrade of the US credit rating.   The GOP walk away position doesn’t harm Democrats, it harms the country. 

So the GOP leverage was offering Obama to do its job with a walkaway position of economic ruin.  And there is wonder why they may get nothing in return for this position.

Put simply, the leadership in the house should have never conceded the debt ceiling/budget were a point of “leverage” with Obama.  Once that concession was made, it would inevitably lead to what did we get in return questions during any negotiations.  Which is where we are today, a GOP house expecting returns for “leverage” and Obama and the Democrats offering nothing in return since it was an illusion in the first place.

Policy disagreements aside, this is just bad strategy and rightfully deserves to fail.

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