This recent debt ceiling deal proves the best way for the Republican Party to get what they want from the Democrats and President Obama is to take metaphorical hostages. At this point for the GOP to try negotiating for new laws through the traditional legislative process would be beyond stupid given how effective the tactic of disaster legislating has proven to be, time and time again. The Republican Party should simply refuse to ever deal with Obama unless they have a pending crisis to hold hostage.
This should be easy for the Republican Party because they have several looming issues they can exploit to advance their ends. In September, the country will face a government shutdown unless there is a budget or continuing resolution. That will be at least one hostage situation. Most likely, though, there will be least two or three different bills required to keep the government funded through the 2012 election. Each time, the Republicans will be able to extract major concessions.
In addition, if the debt ceiling deal passes, triggers in the deal will create other artificial crises. While the triggers are meant to scare both parties into reaching an agreement, does anyone doubt that the GOP is much better at playing chicken than Obama? The GOP can easily turn this into another hostage event.
Of course there is also the expiration of the Bush tax cuts. While Obama claims he will veto a plan that extends the tax cuts for the wealthy, there is no reason to believe he will risk letting them expire for everyone since he didn’t last time. The repeat of this fight will likely plan out in a similar.
Finally, this debt ceiling will need to be raised again in only about 16 months. If Obama is still in office, I see no reason the Republicans won’t pull this same game again. In fact, given how well it worked this time the conservative base will demand congressional Republicans do it again. I can’t even begin to imagine what crazy new concession they will demand in this next round.
This is not how I want my country to be run. This process of disaster legislating makes a mockery of both our Constitution and the basic principles of democracy. Yet, given that Obama’s spinelessness has allowed it to be incredibly effective I can hardly blame the Republicans for using it.
Tragically, this will be our future as long as Obama is president. We will lurch from crisis to crisis. Each time, the GOP will use a threat to harm the economy in order to to extract massive concessions from Obama. Each time Obama will say how he had to give in but promises to really fight next time.