Republican hysteria has reached fever pitch this summer. As the right-wing awaits a new conspiracy-theorist book making the case for President Obama’s impeachment, Republican members of Congress are trying to tame their Tea Party id at summer town halls.
Last week Senator Tom Coburn, the senior Republican on the Senate’s oversight committee and self-proclaimed “personal friend” of the president, told a crowd the president is “perilously close” to the high crimes and misdemeanors needed for impeachment.
But Salon’s Joan Walsh points to another line from the Town Hall that presages the GOP’s actual plan for the fall. In response to a question about defunding Obamacare, Coburn says, “If you wanna do it, do it on the debt limit, don’t do it on shutting down the government, because the economy’s so precarious right now, and shutting down the government won’t stop Obamacare one iota.”
In a new piece in the conservative National Review Online, Jonathan Strong elaborates on the secret “Jedi Council” guiding Republicans towards fiscal Armageddon. “The group formed a plan to ‘re-sequence’ the budget fights to give the GOP more leverage,” Strong writes. “The idea was to punt on the debt ceiling for a while, let the automatic sequester cuts go into effect, pass the GOP’s budget, and then gear up for a big debt-ceiling brawl in the summer.”
Coburn fanning the impeachment flames and his debt ceiling plan foreshadow the upcoming fiscal fight in the fall. With the GOP hell-bent on holding the debt limit hostage and a base that sees the president as illegitimate, avoiding a fiscal crisis could be more difficult than ever. As Steve Benen writes on Maddowblog, “It is, as a practical matter, awfully difficult for a president to work constructively with radicalized lawmakers who refuse to compromise and cherish the idea of impeachment without cause.”
The only problem: the GOP has no idea what it will actually hold hostage. Although Republicans agree on the vehicle for getting policy concessions (debt ceiling), as Strong reports, they have yet to articulate the policy itself.
In public remarks, Boehner has said several different things, including promising a debt-ceiling increase only in return for the same amount in cuts and saying that “our goal here is to get this country on a path to balance the budget over ten years.” A spokesman clarified to NRO that no decisions have been made.
So, the GOP will blow up the world economy, unless…ask them about that part later.