McConnell v. Cantor, et al

So far, Sen. McConnell’s proposal on the debt ceiling seems to be playing out as I expected.

In an interview today, McConnell focused plenty of attention on the political calculation of his problem. His biggest fear: that the Republicans will share responsibility for the economy. Um, aren’t they in control of half of the federal legislature (the easier half to really control, in fact)? And weren’t they in control of the presidency when the economy first started hitting the skids? Also, that deficit we built, with the wars and the tax cuts? Pretty sure that was on their watch.

On the other hand, Cantor basically rejected McConnell’s plan, suggesting that it has even less chance of passing the Republican-controlled House of Representatives than Obama’s “big deal.” Cantor reaffirmed that the best path forward was continuing negotiations. Though Sen. John McCain sided with McConnell, others have been lining up with Cantor. Not surprisingly, this includes the doctrinaire Sen. Jim DeMint, who really does intend to hold to his debt limit pledges.

With hard line conservatives lining up against McConnell (and with the President), perhaps there’s some more hope for this deal actually getting done. If the options are raising the debt limit with no actual spending off-sets or raising the debt ceiling as part of a multi-trillion dollar bargain with hundreds of billions in closed “tax loopholes,” perhaps House Republicans can finally be convinced to take the latter.

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