National celebration over the House's debt-limit suspension seems a bit premature and much too celebratory. John Boehner's incorrigible band of [insert plural form of preferred epithet here] have mostly bought themselves some invaluable time to regroup--time being a desperately needed strategic assist in the disoriented aftermaths of Election Day and assorted fiscal-cliff rumbles. Launching a major new front--now--was excessively ambitious and politically doomed; egads even the pin-striped nihilists understood that.
So with twitching and bloodied hands they scribbled a 90-day truce, whose termination roughly coincides with the opening of two other fronts: sequestration and government's continued funding. In brief, the triple threat is still alive--although how alive and well is anyone's guess. My objection, or perhaps more accurately my worry, is that the threesome is alive at all.
President Obama vowed to not negotiate over a debt-ceiling lift and he was both exactingly true to his word and in sweeping violation of it. Indeed, negotiate he did not; yet in agreeing to the House's petulant, irregular three-months-but-no-one-year proposal--and "[p]ostponing a crisis for 90 days," as the NYT editorial board reminds us, "does nothing to reassure markets, or businesses, or ordinary bondholders worried about their investments"--the president permitted House Republicans a kind of negotiated Tora Bora breakout.
Progressive celebrants of the three-month debt-ceiling deal have declared it the end of Republicans' leverage. I haven't a clue as to why. I mean I know why they celebrate--they tend to do such things spontaneously--but why Republican postponement of a debt-ceiling crisis is logically commensurate with Republican cancellation of a debt-ceiling crisis is, I'm afraid, beyond me. I'd like to believe it, but my repeatedly confirmed belief in a godless, merciless, treacherous Republicanism is by now unshakable.
Wounded animals don't seek redemption. They seek only time. And they just got some.