The Tea Party crazies in the House and their lead-from-behind “leader” Speaker John Boehner have a simple choice to make: do they want to raise the debt ceiling or do they want to force the United States Government into default on its previously incurred debts? If by their childish intransigence they force a default, the economy will be dealt another severe blow, postponing a return to 6% unemployment for a few more years.
If Speaker Boehner backs away from this fight, he will have lost the little remaining faith his Tea Party caucus has in him. They might even vote him out of the Speakership if they retain the majority after the 2014 elections. If he sticks to their guns and forces a default, he and the Crazies will have cost the Republican Party any chance it may have had of winning the Presidency in the next two or three elections. He will have made it clear that Party is more important than Country to these bomb-throwers.
Meanwhile, the Republicans in the Senate are having to deal with their own Tea Party-inspired madness. Ted Cruz wants to shut down the government rather than implement the Affordable Care Act. His fellow Republicans have told him what a dumb idea that is, but he is clearly more concerned with playing to his fanbase than actually governing.
In the end, all rational Republicans have one hope of coming out even slightly okay in this whole mess. That hope is Barack Obama. They need him to stand his ground against the hostage-taking Tea Partiers. In this way, the voting public will see how utterly Unpatriotic these Tea Party Patriots are. They just want to burn the whole thing down if they can’t have it their way.
At the next mid-term, the Republicans will lose seats in the House and will continue as the minority party in the Senate. And the fault will lie with the Tea Party Caucus. Maybe the national leadership of the GOP will be able to start exercising a bit of control over the monster they unleashed. But to do that, they would need to have a spine—something I have seen little evidence of thus far.
Speaking of spines, President Obama needs to do what he has said he will do. He needs to stand firm and NOT negotiate over the debt ceiling. This is the biggest fight of his Presidency and he needs to be strong.