Are We (Almost) There Yet? — Update

President Obama was supposed to meet with Reid, McConnell, Pelosi, and Boehner at the White House at noon.  That meeting has been postponed, so Senate negotiations can continue.  It’s not a bad sign, talks have not collapsed.

Reid says he’s “very optimistic” on a deal this week to re-open the government and raise the debt ceiling.  If Reid is happy with the deal, I’ll probably be happy with the deal.

Quote of the Day

“It’s the lack of strategy towards a specific outcome that is most disheartening.  Outside a few borderline delusional folks, no one believes there’s a viable strategy to stop Obamacare.  So what exactly are we fighting to achieve?  The government will re-open and the debt limit will be extended.  These are facts.  What will we get, if anything?  That’s the tough part.”

A Republican Senate aide to Sahil Kapur at Talking Points Memo

What will they get?  How about an end to the GOP’s slide in the polls?  At this point, this should just take the tourniquet the Dems are offering and stop the bleeding.

We’re all focused on Thursday, when the government will be down to its last $30 billion in cash (plus daily tax revenues coming in).  At that point, the sh*t will still be approaching the fan.  Our next interest payment on Treasuries is October 31, and then almost $60 billion in payments on November 1 for Social Security, Medicare, military pay, etc.

Quote of the Day

“It’s getting hard to keep track of the hostage metaphors here, but if I have this right then the latest from Boehner means the House GOP is keeping both hostages — government shutdown and debt limit — but has agreed not to shoot the debt limit in the head for another six weeks.”

David Kurtz, Talking Points Memo

Yoho Is A Yahoo

Congressman Ted Yoho (R – FL) thinks failing to raise the debt ceiling wouldn’t just be no biggie, it would actually be a good thing:  “I think, personally, it would bring stability to the world markets.”

A teeny, tiny part of me kind of hopes we don’t raise the debt ceiling so that the Tea Party crazies are unequivocally unmasked for the morons they are, as everything comes crashing down around their ears.

Quote of the Day 2

“The whole point of Obama’s refusal to negotiate is that what Republicans are actually demanding is to fundamentally alter the power balance between the legislative and executive branches of government. If Obama caves and offers concessions to Republicans in exchange for a debt limit increase, it will clearly weaken the presidency. By contrast, if Republicans ‘cave’ and increase the debt limit cleanly, Congress will lose none of its fundamental power.

“Moreover, senior administration officials are confident that if Obama establishes the precedent that the president should yield concessions to the opposition on a threat of default, eventually the opposition will demand something so impossible that a default will happen anyhow. Taking a hard line now is the only way to prevent that.

“This is why the term ‘extortion’ is appropriate. If Obama were to veto debt limit increases until Congress appended a tax increase and a universal gun background check rider, he’d be guilty of the same. But to the frustration of some liberals he’s not. And in this case it’s not because he’s weak or a bad negotiator.

“As this shutdown proves, once parties start making demands they can be very, very difficult to back away from.

“To paraphrase one Republican, it’s easier to get into a shutdown than to get out of one. The same dynamic applies to a default. But the consequences of a default are much more dire.”

Brian Beutler, Salon

A Sane Republican

If you’ve been wandering around with a lantern searching for a sane Republican, former NH Sen. Judd Gregg has an op-ed giving his party hell over at The Hill:

“Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should.

“The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree.

“An approach to the debt ceiling that says one will not vote for its extension unless ObamaCare is defunded is the political equivalent of playing Russian roulette with all the chambers of the gun loaded. It is the ultimate no-win strategy.

“You cannot in politics take a hostage you cannot shoot. That is what the debt ceiling is. At some point, the debt ceiling will have to be increased not because it is a good idea but because it is the only idea.

“Defaulting on the nation’s obligations, which is the alternative to not increasing the debt ceiling, is not an option either substantively or politically.

“A default would lead to some level of chaos in the debt markets, which would lead to a significant contraction in economic activity, which would lead to job losses, which would lead to higher spending by the federal government and lower tax revenues, which would lead to more debt.”

In other words, Ted Cruz is a flaming asshole.