House Speaker John A. Boehner scrambled to sell a new debt-ceiling solution to his Republican colleagues on Wednesday, encouraging them to demand a restoration of recently cut military benefits in exchange for a one-year extension of the federal government’s borrowing authority.
We’ve come a long way since the debt-limit showdown of 2011. Then, Boehner offered government cuts in exchange for extending the debt-limit: smaller government for bigger government.
Now, Boehner is offering bigger government in exchange for bigger government. With one eye on the GOP caucus’s portrayal in the press, Boehner is going to get rolled by Harry Reid like he was rolled last October.
Whatever discombobulation exists on the Republican side, Reid will exploit. All he has to do is wait. Boehner will come to him with a deal, which he will reject. He will demand Boehner listen to the most liberal elements in the GOP and cave to the Democrats on every substantive point. If Boehner resists, Reid will force a government shutdown and let the Speaker of the House humiliate himself scampering around Capitol Hill trying to forge a consensus.
And for what? To save a sliver of face while the ship continues to sink.