Free Markets, Free People

Who owns the narrative concerning the debt ceiling fight?

As we watch the political theater that are these debt limit negotiations (and yes, I know the seriousness of all this, but this is political theater), it is interesting to watch the narratives being developed.   On the left, the narrative they’re trying to push is the GOP is a bunch of intractable anti-tax zealots who don’t know how to say “yes”.   On the right, the narrative seems to be … *sigh*, “no, we’re not.”

This is a game the GOP often plays – letting the other side frame the debate.

In fact, of the two sides, it is only the GOP that has actually put forward a plan.   The president has certainly not put forward anything.   He’s winging it.  And Senate Democrats haven’t put up anything.   They’ve simply refused to ratify the GOP plan (passed in the House – Cut, Cap and Balance (CCB)).

So who is the problem here?   We have a GOP plan, we have no plan from Democrats or the White House.   From them, all we have is grousing about the GOP plan and claims they won’t say yes to anything.  Well, not true – they said “yes” to CCB, both in the House and the Senate.  The only party that hasn’t said “yes” to it or anything is that of the Democrats.

John Podhoretz sums it up pretty well talking about Obama’s presser yesterday:

Liberals say this is good for Obama because it shows GOP recalcitrance. Conservatives say that he has remained so committed to enormous tax increases that he tanked the very possibility of a deal. Time will tell, but it strikes me that the heated rhetoric he is using—”I didn’t get my phone call returned,” “I’ve been left at the altar,” “there’s nothing Republicans will say yes to”—does not suggest he, Obama, feels he has been handed a gift by Boehner and the GOP. He claims to have put $1.5 trillion in cuts on the table, plus $600 billion in entitlement reductions, in exchange for tax increases of the same size. He says Republicans said they would accept a dollar in higher taxes (or “revenue”) for every four dollars in cuts, which isn’t exactly saying “no’” to everything.

No, I’d say those who are saying “no” are Dems who want “increased revenues” and won’t take anything less than their version of that (and yeah, I’m not happy with the GOP talking about any sort of tax increase – but the claim here is that the revenues they’re agreeing too won’t come via tax increases per se, but tax reform.).  


For their part, Republicans in the House passed their cut, cap and balance bill on Wednesday, and it included an increase in the debt ceiling, so even by his own account his criticisms of the GOP are not accurate.

Precisely.  As Speaker Boehner said after the latest breakdown in negotiations:

“The House has passed its bill. We did our work. We passed our bill. The Senate hasn’t put a plan on the table. The president hasn’t put a plan on the table.”

If there’s a “no” contingent out there, it’s the bunch without a plan (except for raising taxes).


Twitter: @McQandO

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9 Responses to Who owns the narrative concerning the debt ceiling fight?

  • Add in also that the MSM is more than happy to push the democrats narrative.
    And if that narrative starts to lose traction throw in a couple of “It’s all Bush’s fault”, to get things back on track.

    • Over at the Progressive sites, you can still see the delusions of economic schizophrenia that keep the Democrats believing that they can continue to spend at current levels merely by taxing the rich. First, the rich aren’t that rich and second, the federal government spending currently is that out of control. There isn’t an endless supply of money out there, even if they tax everybody.
      The federal government has achieved the economic “Bridge Too Far” and will eminently lose all those programs that they complain about having to “give up” if they don’t come to grips with reality.

  • I’m very unpopular in my office nowadays, because any time I hear any of my coworkers pushing this line, I very obnoxiously remind them that Harry Reid and the Senate have declined to offer a budget for almost 900 days now, and Obama has never offered anything specific either.

  • This may have been the most irresponsible presidential press conference in memory. The president threatened seniors with a cut off of Social Security, predicted a market panic on Monday morning, and then descended into the worst sort of demagoguery even as he denounced politics.
    –Hugh Hewitt
    Obama is making it worse. By leaps and bounds.

  • Treasury Secretary Geithner has already dismissed this silly line of reasoning, so I’m not surprised to see these remarks …

    Now, the gentleman asked about the 14th Amendment.  There is — there’s a provision in our Constitution that speaks to making sure that the United States meets its obligations.  And there have been some suggestions that a President could use that language to basically ignore this debt ceiling rule, which is a statutory rule.  It’s not a constitutional rule.  I have talked to my lawyers.  They do not — they are not persuaded that that is a winning argument.  So the challenge for me is to make sure that we do not default, but to do so in a way that is as balanced as possible and gets us at least a down payment on solving this problem.

  • Boehner needs to learn to move faster. The minute Obama set him up for an extra 400 billion and offered no additional cuts according to the ratio, he needed to be on Twitter saying what happened, not holding a press conference one hour after Obama. I bet Palin would have done that. The headlines should have read “Obama changes deal, Boehner walks.”
    Also, after seeing the president’s MO, I would strongly suggest that there be no more private negotiations without two specific plans to work from that are public. The way it works now the Democrats can claim whatever they want and the press believes them. Of course they sound better! They aren’t promising anything specific. “like negotiating with jello” was Boehner’s words.
    So, instead of even agreeing to private talks, I would have demanded up front their plan, on the WH letterhead.
    Now of course its getting late, and the narrative has been partially set.