President Obama’s blackmail leverage over Republicans
NEW YORK, Sept. 30, 2015 — Conservative jubilation over the resignation of House Speaker John Boehner quickly faded. There will be no government shutdown. President Barack Obama will continue to get everything he wants.
His priorities from the Affordable Care Act to Planned Parenthood will be fully funded for as long as he is in office.
Republicans can blame Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell all they like, but there was simply nothing any Republican leader could do to stop President Obama once he was re-elected. Obama has all the leverage because he is willing to do the one thing that will always make Republicans blink.
What makes matters worse is that blinking is the right thing for the GOP to do, since Obama is not bluffing.
Unlike any president before him, Barack Obama is willing to let the United States default on its debt obligations.
This is the financial Armageddon scenario. The only thing propping up the debt-laden United States are the people and institutions who purchase American treasury securities backed by the full faith and credit of the United States government.
Politicians may lie about many things, but since this nation was founded America has never missed one single debt payment. Most loans require collateral. America’s word is its bond. Without that trust, America could financially collapse.
For those who remember how difficult it was for individuals to obtain loans during the 2008 financial crisis, picture what would happen if the entire United States government faced that situation.
Many conservatives want to shut down the government. They see it as the only way to stop Obama’s spending spree. Where conservatives failed is where they always fail. They lost the marketing war. Obama still claims that shutting down the government means default.
This is a total falsehood, but enough concerned Americans believe it to be true.
Shutting down the government puts Obama’s spending on austerity. He has to choose what to cut and what not to cut. The honorable thing to do would be to make sure that all debt payments are made first. When households have to make similar choices, the rent or mortgage always gets paid first. Without a roof overhead, the family collapses.
The government is no different.
Obama is willing to default because he knows that Republicans would get the blame. His priorities are so deeply ingrained in him that he would allow financial devastation in exchange for a political victory.
Obama has frequently referred to Republicans as hostage takers who have a gun to his head. The exact reverse is true.
Republicans will either fund every single one of his priorities, or he will allow for a default. Obama likes to say that he is acting in the best interest of the people while everyone else plays politics. Again, he is guilty of projection. Playing the default card is raw, naked power politics.
It is also highly effective because any American with a conscience would reject default as an option.
Republicans have to capitulate every time because there is not one Republican willing to push the default button. There never should be one.
When a man is impervious to pain, he cannot be wounded. Obama has cost Democrats the House, the Senate and most state legislatures. He has deprived Democrats of the next generation of leaders. There is no farm team. The bench is empty. His election losses depleted it.
If that could not cause him to moderate and temper his hyper-ambitious approach, nothing can.
He has nothing to lose and therefore has no need to compromise. He will continue to spend taxpayer dollars as he pleases because Republicans are in a corner. They can choose the slow death of financial strain or the immediate death of default and financial collapse.
Republicans will rightly opt for the slow death because that can be staved off and even reversed with one Republican victory in the 2016 presidential election.
Until then, Republicans will give Obama everything he wants. In this situation, paying off the blackmailer is the sickening but right thing to do. No GOP speaker or majority leader can protect America’s political and financial institutions from a president who takes a victory lap by obliterating them.