Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Did Brooks and Epps save the day?

Since I don’t have air conditioning, anything I say in this post might be due to the slow baking effect. So, I’m going to admit up front that I could be wrong … but, of course, I don’t think I am.

While there surely were many factors that played into Sen. Mitch McConnell’s suddenly announced plan to resolve/detour around the debt ceiling crisis, two smart writers may have done more to push McConnell to alter his stubborn stance than all the huffing and puffing of politicians.

A particular David Brooks’ NY Times OpEd piece had to have created a lot rancor within the Republican ranks. It may have stirred things up so much that McConnell and Rep. John Boehner feared an open revolt with the GOP splitting into warring factions. Read Brooks’ piece, “The Mother of All No-Brainers,” here.

Garrett Epps' much-discussed 14th amendment option put an arrow in President Barack Obama’s quiver that no one wanted to force him to use, least of all McConnell and Boehner. Since Epps’ strategy would have the president seizing the moment and perhaps looking like a problem-solver, while the Republicans might look too much like problem-makers, McConnell couldn’t have that.

So, McConnell is trying to make it appear that in the interest of breaking the logjam, he is giving Obama what he already had -- the power to take control if all else fails. Read about Epps’ option, “The Speech Obama Could Give: ‘The Constitution Forbids Default’,” here.

Frankly, I’m amazed. Here we are in the midst of the mid-summer silly season for politics and it appears that cynical politicians may have gotten so frustrated with their convoluted, first-make-the-other side-look-bad games, they have resorted to listening to writers. Is that possible?

Now I’m going to take another shower.

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