Thursday, October 10, 2013

Elsewhere: Shutdown/Debt Limit, Gerrymandering, more

Today I did a notes-style post while waiting for details of whatever the House is going to do on the debt limit, covering some of the next steps on shutdown/debt limit.

Earlier I argued that it's still all about mainstream conservatives House Republicans. Not Boehner, not the (relatively) moderate group, and not the Tea Party group -- it's about the mainstream conservatives.

Here's some more:

Gerrymandering didn't break the House.

The basic story: Democratic unity.

Republicans are demanding a price for negotiations.


  1. In your very first link, why does note #2 follow (must accept any debt ceiling increase of any length)? Yes, an increase should be accepted, but I sense that you're also ruling out the possibility of negotiation about size. It's always been appropriate to negotiate over the size of the increase, i.e. how frequently Congress would like to have debt ceiling increase votes. There's nothing reckless or norm breaking about that, and a negotiation over doesn't mean one is implicitly threatened not to raise the debt ceiling.

    1. Oh, I think they could argue for something else -- including and up to eliminating the debt limit for good -- but if push came to shove, could Democrats really turn down a truly clean debt limit of any length? I think it would put at risk the overwhelming belief of neutrals that this is all the GOP's fault.

  2. Your piece on the mainstream conservatives got me thinking about the excitement in Arizona over the Medicaid expansion. Basically, what you suggest 'moderate' Republicans in the House are unlikely to do (take over the House to pass this legislation), is what happened in Arizona. Moderate members of the GOP caucus joined with Dems to take over BOTH chambers just long enough to get a budget with the Medicaid expansion passed, then rejoined their caucus to return the earlier leaders to power.

    You suggested that only the possibility of a longer-term alliance or party switch would prompt such a maneuver. But I don't see that possibility at work here. My guess is that a few other factors made the difference: (1) The support of a GOP governor. That made the 'purity' test less powerful. I suppose the fact that both GOP-controlled chambers were experiencing the revolt may have had a similar impact. (2) Term limits, which may reduce the paranoia of being unseated by a 'tea party' challenger by diminishing the incentives to challenge incumbents (better to wait them out) and/or decreasing the incentive to hold desperately to the office (even if you win this reelection, sooner than later you'll have to move on).

    I'd be curious to hear any other explanations you (or other readers) might have.

    1. Interesting point. I think both of your explanations seem reasonable...I should know more about what's happening in AZ than I do.

    2. Jonathan could have responded that his argument was made with the assumption that we don't have a GOP President (which obviously we don't).

  3. What do you think about Andrew Sprung's The party that loses by winning?

    Is it really that bad? Is Obama and unskilled negotiator? Does he hold such few cards against the united GOP House that he has little leverage? Is the "cut my taxes, ease my pain, I don't want to pay for them" ideology so powerful that the ACA is all he can actually salvage? Why are the Dems on the verge of folding on taxing MRI"s and pacemakers, and hip prostheses? Is it that the Senate is a rich man's club?


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