the national interest

House Republican Debt Ceiling Hostage Update

Let’s get this over with.

At the recent retreat, House Republicans met to plot their latest demand for not triggering a worldwide economic meltdown. Everybody by this point recognizes what the actual outcome will be – they’ll get nothing, and like it. The latest machinations reflect a small, comic window into the post-revolutionary House Republican Zeitgeist, like a circa 1973 Weather Underground plot.

Robert Costa reports that the Republicans have narrowed their demands to two: Approve the Keystone Pipeline, or repeal the risk-corridor provision of Obamacare.

The key element is or – Republicans have decided that one of these policy demands is so vital that they can insist its fulfillment justifies the threat of global economic calamity. They’re just not sure yet which one.

It’s also noteworthy that, rather than abandoning their hostage-taking methods altogether in the face of obvious failure, Republicans instead just keep lowering the price. Three years ago, they were demanding trillions of dollars in budget cuts. Now they want either a pipeline that will probably get approved anyway or to take a random whack at insurance companies. Their new demands are both a massive retreat from their grandiose government-slashing ambitions of yore and at the same time obviously unachievable. Next year they’ll be demanding a football helmet filled with cottage cheese and naked photos of Bea Arthur.

House Republican Debt Ceiling Hostage Update