Ten days ago I argued that the Republican strategy regarding their game of chicken with the debt ceiling was as follows: stall until the eleventh hour, then offer passage in the House in exchange for the repeal of the health care bill passed in early 2010.
Well, it turns out that's been batted around a bit, by presidential-hopeful-cum-destroyer-of-worlds Michele Bachman, as well as various new members of the Republican Caucus. Drum argues in that same article though that such a plan is an obvious non-starter. I'm not wholly convinced - Obama clearly will want to avoid shredding it at almost all costs, but it's still disliked by a (thin) majority of Americans - but I'm happy to defer to him here, and accept that whilst my idea was clearly popular amongst some conservatives, it wasn't actually the official game plan.
I don't think we'll ever know for sure, though, because the Republicans have blinked. Naturally, they've blinked in the most cynical, hideous way imaginable. Their proposal essentially runs as follows: "We'll give the President the power to raise the debt ceiling whilst every single Republican votes against it, and tells the country the Democrats are the party of runaway spending".
It's almost impressive, in it's way. Over the last year the Republican high command have gone from "The debt ceiling must be raised" to "Raising the debt ceiling is unacceptable unless we get everything we want with no concessions" to "Raising the debt ceiling is necessary, but only if we can use it as a weapon against Democrats in the next round of elections."
And yet, as twattish and dangerously cynical as this admission is, it is still an admission. All I could think about when I read this proposal was sitting at the dining room table in 1993. My ten year old sister had accused my seven year old brother, of kicking her viciously during an earlier altercation. My brother's defence to my father ran as follows: "First, I didn't do it. Second, she deserved it."
Congratulations, Republican voters! You elected my seven year old brother to run the House of Representatives, and to try as hard as possible to bankrupt the world.