Erick Erickson Is Putting Party Before Country
How much of an American can you be if you are willing to wreck the economy for political gain.
Red State’s Erick Erickson makes what I can only characterize as some rather bizarre comments about the ongoing debt ceiling debate in the form of an open letter to House Republicans:
Now is a time for choosing. Now is your time for choosing.As I pointed out to John Boehner yesterday, despite what the pundits in Washington are telling you, it is you and not Obama who hold most of the cards. Obama has a legacy to worry about. Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff.
Now, Erickson goes on to reject that idea that failing to raise the debt ceiling will have any serious economic consequences, something which both Steven Taylor and myself have written about here extensively. Let’s leave that aside for a second, though, because in this quote above Erickson is clearly saying that he’d be okay with sending the economy into the tank by failing to raise the debt ceiling because he thinks it would benefit the Republican Party. (a point I’ll be addressing in a later post).
This is the same sort of debt kamikaze argument that Steven Taylor wrote about earlier today, and which John Avalon talks about at The Daily Beast:
The costs of courting conservative populists should be clearer than ever to reality-based fiscal conservatives inside the Republican Party. Their “all-or-nothing” meets “what, me worry?” negotiating stance is not only the newest symbol of D.C.’s dysfunction—it is beginning to have an impact on the entire U.S. economy.
After all, S&P is now warning of a possible downgrade to America’s credit rating because of concerns about our political ability to raise the debt ceiling by August 2. Moody’s similarly announced it is considering a downgrade of the U.S. bond rating. Bush-appointed Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke calls the looming prospect of a default on our debt “catastrophic.”
But Michele Bachmann believes it’s all a hoax. Tim Pawlenty told an Iowa crowd, “I hope and pray and believe they should not raise the debt ceiling.” Ron Paul based his first presidential ad on a call to not raise the debt ceiling, proclaiming “No Deals.” And Rick Santorum has said that raising the debt ceiling should be avoided until a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution is passed.
This position is a long way from saying the vote to raise the debt ceiling should be contingent on a deal to reduce the deficit and the debt. It is not looking for leverage or savvy negotiation on the way to a settlement. Instead, it is prideful ignorance—an eagerness to go off the fiscal cliff to show the world that gravity does not exist.
The fact that defaulting on our debt would raise interest rates—deepening the fiscal hole we’re in by compounding the size of our deficit and debt overnight—is not addressed. Instead we are greeted with nihilistic bubble talk—at its best, economic incompetence and at its worst evidence of tactical Leninism—the belief that “the worse things get, the better they are for me politically.”
Avalon goes on to call the argument that people like Erickson make fools, and quotes two former economic advisers to two Republican Presidents, both of whom say quite emphatically that failing to raise the debt ceiling would have serious economic consequences. Of course, people like this are denounced as RINO’s or “inside the Beltway elites” by the supporters of Bachmann and her ilk. They simply don’t believe what economic reality and common sense clearly say is likely to happen.
Erickson, though, is making a different argument from Bachmann and Gohmert. He’s saying Bring It On. He’s perfectly fine with economic collapse because he thinks the President of the United States and the Democratic Party will take the blame, and the Republican Party will benefit. The economic pain that will be suffered by his fellow Americans is secondary, it seems, to the political gains he thinks can be made from throwing the nations economy over the brink. How is that different from someone else hoping that, say, the Iraq War had gone horribly wrong immediately before the 2004 elections because it would hurt the Bush Administration and the GOP?
The answer, of course, is that it isn’t. Willfully hoping that the country is harmed because it might potentially benefit your political party is perhaps the most cravenly partisan thing that anyone would ever wish. You are saying to your fellow citizens that you don’t care that something bad is about to happen because, in the end, it will mean that more Republicans will be elected. Frankly, I find it disgusting.
On the policy level, I likely agree with Erickson. I want to see Federal spending cut. I want the size and scope of the Federal government reduced. I’m just not willing to advocate something I know will harm the country in order to score political points.
Let’s not forget that CNN pays this man for his “insight”, and gives him credibility as a mainstream conservative.
Liberal media, my ass.
The problem is that Erickson and no one in the GOP has any interest in spending cuts. Even the tea party demands that Medicare, defense and Social security not be touched even if the US goes into default. Thats about 70% of the budget right there.
really hard to even comment.
just unthinkable that an american citizen would show such callous disregard for their nation…a nation in which erikson has become wealthy by virtue of broadcast frequency spectrum and internet bandwidth- i.e. the government. what’s more shocking still is that there will be no, or minimal, blowback from the right.
imagine the uproar from the right had a democrat said this same thing.
it’s truly pathetic what has become of the once great GOP.
No matter how vile you might think Erickson is, the reality is that democracy and civilization can easily tolerate a great many such folk. What can’t be survived is the other people you mentioned who are indulging in willful ignorance if not outright irrationality. You can have an intelligent, if disgusting, debate with Erickson. You cannot have meaningful discourse with someone who believes the Earth is flat and the Moon is made out of green cheese.
Doug I believe you got it backwards. Also IMO you think your assumptions are true therefore everyone else must have the same assumptions.
First many including some main bloggers on this site have been arguing that the GOP must raise the debt ceiling are they the GOP will be blamed. Erick is pointing out that he doesn’t think so. Also if the GOP should cave in because they will be blamed then wouldn’t it be logical for the DNC to cave if it can be showed that they will be the ones that will be blamed.
Second many believe that raising the debt ceiling without reform will cause “much more” harm than not raising the debt ceiling at all. They would prefer both reform and raising the debt ceiling but if one has to choose wouldn’t they choose the lesser of two evils?If they truly believe that wouldn’t it be irresponsible of them to choose the greater of two eviles.
Now there are those whose opinion is that not raising the debt ceiling would be worst. However wouldn’t it make sense if they “truly” believed that, they would be more willing to compromise their position than those who don’t?
However they are not. So it makes one wonder if they don’t actually believe what they saying or they simply are not thinking it through. Regardless, the intentions of believers of a catastrophe is much more questionable as being malicious for not compromising than those who don’t believe it will be a catastrophe.
What are the Republicans who consider themselves decent human beings telling themselves at this point?
What rationalizations are they using to distance themselves from the actions of their party?
I’m in favor of raising the debt ceiling, with the best deal that can be made under current political circumstances and the understanding that not raising the debt ceiling is not an option that serious people should consider. As I’ve discussed in other posts, even if we don’t default on our sovereign debt as a result, there would still be serious economic consequences. It doesn’t really matter to me who gets political blame or who gets the political benefit in such a situation.
@Wayne: However wouldn’t it make sense if they “truly” believed that, they would be more willing to compromise their position than those who don’t?
So, if I kidnap your wife and threaten to kill her unless you murder one of your children, if you refuse it means you didn’t really love your wife?
Dude, the DNC caved when they gave up “more spending.”
They are suddenly the party of 83% spending cuts, and 17% tax increase.
That is a cave.
Actually, I agree with you on this. I don’t get why these people say this is a hoax or a conspiracy. If it is a conspiracy, it began centuries ago. It is not as if we have a tradition, liberal or conservative, of refusing to honor our debt. I think we need to cut spending, but this is like skipping town in the middle of the night and stiffing your creditors in the name of saving money.
Is this really a surprise to anyone? What did people think the GOP was up to? Was there someone out there who doubted that the GOP was all about hate and rage and hunger for power?
It seems to me that there are some Democrats out there who are not much better, after all, they want Obama to veto anything that does not have tax hikes or that includes entitlement cuts..even if it means default. Both sides are playing with fire here.
With all due respect… you’re wrong in your theory.
One party is negotiating and compromising – the Democrats.
The other side is saying “My way or no way”, regardless that “No way” could lead to a catastrophic economic situation – the GOP.
In this case, there is NO equivalency.
One side is holding the country hostage – the GOP.
Everyone does realize I hope that even without an agreement, the US does NOT go into debt default on 3 Aug, right? Right? The only time that would happen is if Obama and the Treasury department wanted it to happen. The fact is the govt easily has enough money to service the debt AND pay for our soldiers AND (even) pay for SSN. Of course this means that most of the rest of govt has to be treated to the meat-axe treatment (approx 40% cuts perhaps more), but that does NOT mean default. Please stop saying that it does.
You’re Exhibit A of “Those who are choosing to ignore reality.”
Erickson is a global warming denier and a default denier and a believer in trickled down and supply side economics. Are you really sure he isn’t exactly the sort that is inured to logic and reason and evidence?
Actually Polaris, the sigh is that your comment fundamentally does not understand how and where government monies go to. Please see Doug and Steven’s recent posts — in particular https://www.outsidethebeltway.com/beating-the-dead-horse-once-more-looking-at-the-numbers-if-we-dont-raise-the-debt-ceiling/ — for exactly why the “we have the cash” doesn’t work (unless of course you are advocated we shut down things like the FBI).
I am not ignoring reality. Too many others are. There will come a time very soon (within 5 years if current trends continue) when the US will be entirely at the mercy of it’s creditors because at that point, it will become impossible to service the debt without incurring more debt.
Better to suffer a wake-up call now and deal with the meat-axe approach if that’s what it takes, then wait for it to come inevitably when someone else (such as the Chinese) call in our debt.
Right now, the US will not default on 3 August unless Treasury Department wants it to. That’s a simple fact.
Partly it’s different because whoever (in U.S. politics) may have been wishing the Iraq occupation went south for political gain wasn’t actively affecting the situation. Not the same in this case, where Republicans are actively trying to bring about default.
Your link pretty much proves what I am saying. I don’t regard either Medicade or Social Security as untouchable. As for most of govt having to shut down, perhaps people will realize that we actually need a lot less govt than we think. Shocker that one. In short, while the situation is dire, just wait until the debt makes it impossible to service without incurring more debt. That’s the end result of always raising the debt limit ultimately (esp based on spending cuts that are phantom years in the future and thus not real). Better take the medicine now while we can still (barely) afford it, then be force to when we can’t.
Good thinking. It’s like people in the 80s saying “There will come a time when nuclear war will happen, so it’s better if we drop atomic bombs on all our cities right now than wait for it to come inevitably.”
Perhaps instead we could do something to ward off the disaster — like go back to the Clinton-era tax rates, at which point most of the “debt crisis” goes away.
Again, it’s not automatic default. Perhaps a swift kick in the teeth is what this country needsd to get it’s fiscal house in order WITHOUT having a foreign country do it for us (which I promise you will be much worse).
Actually it Clinton tax rates don’t make the problem go away. If you taked the “top earners” (as defined by POTUS) 100% and assume that it didn’t affect the economy, it still wouldn’t make a significant dent. The REAL problem is that 48% of the people pay no taxes at all…..
AND nothing else. nothing. we can service the debt and avoid default, but then what. ‘default’ has basically become a euphemism for ‘bringing the US government to a grinding halt’…which would indeed have catastrophic real-world consequences. so i see your point, but i still think you gloss over what would be extreme hardship for a wide swath of the country in the event a deal does not get reached. we can debate the merits of cutting govt largesse, but to immediately chop 40% of the budget in the name of deficit reduction is, well, crazy.
@Polaris: Thanks for essentially demonstrating that you are not willing to have a ration or adult discussion of this topic.
To some degree, I almost want to have the parties involved fail to come to an agreement, if for no other reason for reality to demonstrate how demonstratively wrong/willfully ignorant your position is.
and to the extent that this is true, i would ask you to look at the cumulative wealth of that 48%, and tell me that they are living high on the hog on the governments dime.
@ponce and @EddieInCA: My stance thus far has been that this is a negotiating ploy, if an unwise one, but that it’s just being used as a wedge to get a deal. If something like the McConnell-Reid plan comes together, we’ll be fine at the end of the day.
The problem is that the adults have less sway than they used to, in that the kids have a lot more ways of getting heard around the conventional paths of power. We’ll see if it’s just noise.
Just to be clear then you think that Obama and the Democrats should be willing to give up much more than they are saying now so the ceiling gets raised?
Re ” It doesn’t really matter to me who gets political blame or who gets the political benefit in such a situation”
As long as there is a decent deal for the country I don’t either. However when people use an argument like “the GOP will be blamed if debt ceiling isn’t raised” it needs to be address. The GOP can’t get the best deal possible if they simply raise the ceiling without having any of thier demands fulfilled.
Once again if the Democrats think that not raising the debt ceiling is not an option then they would be willing to give in much more than they have. They haven’t given in on jack so far.
I agree with you to some extent. I think that many people could benefit from a “reality check” as to what will happen if the debt ceiling is not raised. We likely differ on who some of those people are.
You are right in that we will not default on public debt in August (assuming we make it a priority to service that debt). What will happen is that when we roll over debt in August, it will very likely be more expensive to do the necessary borrowing because the rating agencies will have downgraded our debt (along with other factors). This will cost us more money in the long run. What will also happen is that the government will need to make sizable cuts in some combination of Defense, Social Security, and Medicare/Medicaid, along with voter-visible cuts in many other programs. The reaction of voters to those cuts may not have the effect that you would prefer.
Ah, the old “if you took all the money away from all the rich people” game. Who was it who started this silliness? Rush? Hannity? Whatever, it’s joined “it’s not a tax problem, it’s a spending problem” as the right wing’s all purpose answer to everything.
Yes, Polaris, letting tax rates go back to where they were in the 90s solves the vast majority of the “deficit crisis.” As for the “all those icky brown people don’t pay taxes at all” stuff, life is too short to bother with people who mindlessly parrot back whatever their radio says. But here’s a little hint to get you through your life — when a man who makes fifty million dollars a year tells you it’s in your best interest to keep taxes on people like him as low as possible, you might want to stop to wonder if he has something other than your interests in mind.
Possibly defaulting is not the only downside to not raising the debt limit, there are countless other posts here on OTB detailing how unpleasant it would be. It’s also reasonable to assume the markets won’t treat the inability to raise the debt ceiling much differently from an actual default.
Understood. But I think you’re being very kind (or delusional in regards) to the current GOP’s makeup. There are some genuine crazies in that party – and they’re driving the agenda for the “adults”.
I don’t share your optimism. For more on that, see the more the posts by your fellow contributors.
This liberal “lets act like adults and stop acting like kids” name calling is such B.S. Do you really think name calling advances civility and cooperation?
Is spending a great deal more than you take in acting like adults? Is name calling acting like an adult? Is stomping out of the room acting like an adult? Is not putting an actual plan on the table acting like an adult? Is saying we shouldn’t politicize the issue then turning around and politicizing it acting like an adult? Is throwing insults in an attempt to get someone to do what you want acting like an adult?
But it guess it doesn’t matter because they have the “let’s act like an adult” meaningless buzz phrase.
@Wayne: “Is spending a great deal more than you take in acting like adults? Is name calling acting like an adult?”
Wayne, you do realize that at least those two sentences apply with far more validity to the GOP than to President Obama?
@MBunge: Actually, so does his bit about “stomping out of the room,” since Eric Cantor has made a specialty of the tactic.
@Polaris: Do you have any proof that the US won’t default, or do you intend to continually argue by assertion?
Mandatory spending (required by law) is just under $2.2 trillion. That includes Medicaid, Medicare, Social Security and interest on our debt. $2.2 trillion is almost exactly the amount of revenue the federal government takes in. Guess what gets left out if the debt ceiling isn’t raised?
-The entire defense budget
-All embassies and diplomatic posts
Sorry but no, we can’t pay for our troops without incurring more debt.
I’ve already made my opinions clear
Democrats almost always want to spend more than the Republicans. Obama budget had a great deal more spending in it than the Republicans so how does overspending applies more to Republicans than Democrats?
You miss the point. If the Democrats accuse the Republicans of being children for those actions than how can they logically claim to be acting like adults for doing the same?
Yeah I know it different when a Democrat does it.
Re “They are suddenly the party of 83% spending cuts, and 17% tax increase”
Resource please. The only thing I seen from Democrats is very vague generalities with “promises” of future spending cuts years down the road.
So spending cuts is the same as killing one of your children?
A more relevant example would be if someone kidnapped your child and threaten to kill them unless they receive a large sum of money. You claim your ex and everyone must give as much money as they can except you which should only give very little to none. After all you have plan for your money. Alsoif your ex believes that they are going kill the child anyway and want to send it a SWAT team, you believe the ex is evil for not giving up all his\her money but you are not for giving up little to none.
If no deal is reached the laws that Mandate the spending are unenforceable and invalid. The Treasury at that point would have total control over what gets paid and how much. Just the way it is….so in the event of no agreement, mandatory spending is no longer mandatory (which is part of the point of some of the other legistlation being floated in congress….as an attempt to make it mandatory even in the event of no agreement…something I also don’t agree with).
The issue is that by their own account, the GOP entered into these negotiations from the position that their contribution, in terms of a compromise, was considering to approve raising the debt ceiling.
They were given, by most accounts, an offer that gave them 85% of what they wanted. That’s more than half.
As far as why they are going to get the blame, because:
1. They have taken the position that its their total demands that have to be met (again, Obama offered a significant amount of concessions) or else.
2. Even if their total demands are met, numerous GOP representatives are saying they still will vote against it.
3. They are the ones saying nothing will happen.
@Wayne: I definitely do not agree with Wayne, but I think it is ethically irresponsible to blank it out just because of that. He is being reasonable by his own rights, not indulging in profanity or namecalling, and is honestly trying to be part of a conversation. I’m glad that the system you have here makes it possible to still see what he has to say with an extra click, and I don’t disapprove of the Like/Dislike buttons at all. But to semi-remove his part of the discussion because he’s not in agreement with everyone else seems to me to demonstrate the potential dangers of majority rule, aka ‘pure’ democracy. This is why I don’t think popular votes should be taken on the rights of minorities, for example.
Wayne, did you sleep thru 2001-2009? Were you there? Or are you one of those “If you remember the Aughts, you weren’t there” people?
You totally ignore the fact that by the time Obama got in office the economy was in complete free fall, while ALSO ignoring 2 tax cuts, 2 unfunded wars, one great BIG unfunded expansion of entitlements….. But you hang your hat on the fact that Obama came into office with a disastrous reduction in revenues during a time of unprecedented spending on defense and he borrowed money in an attempt to save at least some of the economy. (and he did)
You could argue that he was wrong to do that. But you don’t . Instead you say, ” Obama budget had a great deal more spending in it than the Republicans ”
The same Republicans who said, “Deficits don’t matter.”? Where were you then? where was the Tea Party then? Where were all the “deficit hawks” with an (R) ((or (D) for that matter)after their name then?
Come back with a coherent argument about why Obama was wrong to try and jump start this economy, and I will discuss it with you. But do not blame him for the deficit. He inherited it.
That’s a hell of a gamble you’re willing to take…I don’t think the results of that will be what you might think, though…
Not to the true believers who think the government is too big…
That, of course, is simply not true…the Democrats have agreed to cuts in the budget…it is the Republicans who “haven’t given in on jack so far” by not agreeing with any tax increases to go with those budget cuts…
Oh, and if we want to talk about acting like adults, how about simply having a clean debt ceiling vote, rather than treating it as an extortion racket, as the GOP has done…
Being ‘for’ or ‘against’ raising the debt ceiling makes zero sense. It seems most folks don’t understand that this action is to make payments on debt already accued. How can someone be ‘for’ not paying off debts? Especially while claiming this would have no, or minimal, negative impact? Just completely foolish thinking.
I don’t think I have ever agreed with wayne (actually I think it happened in just the past 3 wks)….. ANYWAY….
It is hard to argue with someone if their comments are blocked out. I do not recall Wayne ever once crossing a line of decorum (idiocy???? well maybe a time or 2…. but who hasn’t?)
For the record, No one can argue with a phantom. I suppose I would have a considerable less problem with the current “rating system” if it did not result in people having their comments “hidden”….
Republicans often attack with their own weaknesses, and when I think of Erick Erickson I assume he molests young goats.
thing is, i largely agree with them that we have an excessively wasteful and bloated system. but their answer seems to be to start hacking and slashing everything in sight (except those pesky entitlements). if we as a culture didnt have the attention span of a goldfish, we might be able to get some substantive discussion about long term phased in solutions. but i suppose that’s asking too much, especially when there are elections to win.
i also have to throw in my two cents and say that something needs to be tweaked when it comes to hiding low rated comments. wayne, terrye, and polaris all had posts blocked that were completely unobjectionable. i come to OTB for the varied commentariat – dont let that change, gentlemen.
@Wayne: Lie. For evidence, see ‘Bush Years’
Hence the term “true believers”….it’s not just about these people having a problem with big government…
So, first time you’ve heard of Erickson, Mr. Mataconis?
@Polaris: Laws mandating expenditures do not fall silent if a debt ceiling is not raised, and I challenge you to demonstrate otherwise.
@CB: I make a habit of voting in favor of any comment which is removed, whether it’s foolish or not.
I believe you will find that the law mandates that congress allocate X dollars to spend on these programs. That is the the same as demanding the Treasury fund them when the allocated dollars run out. It might seem like a fine distinction (and it is when you actually have a budget) but it’s a critical one now.
If the US runs out of money, the Treasury has the first, last, and only word of who gets govt money and who doesn’t unless and until a new budget is passed.
Not to worry. From what I am seeing, the moderaters of OTB don’t want a varied commentary that might disagree with their editorial line. Their blog so I’ll know not to post here in the future.
very much disagree, but hey, fair enough. if anything, ive noticed that the the authors make a habit of engaging with us proles, hardly stifling debate. joyner et al run a pretty tight ship around here, and they have my appreciation.
I just found myself in the bizarre position of going through a bunch of posts I absolutely disagreed with and “Like-ing” them. This “Like/Dislike” thing is potentially very good (on another thread it effectively blocked a raver who was writing incessantly about how the Nazis were all gay (or something)), but it is not working like I expected. I realize OTB uses a commercial blogging system and can’t make changes, but would a three button system work better? Like/Dislike, which doesn’t affect visibility and “Abuse” which does?
Doug, please stop stealing my thoughts before I can write them down.
The like-dislike thing isn’t working; there are posts which are reasonable (in the sense of expressing an opinion – even if I don’t agree with the opinion) which are being blanked out. Perhaps you need a 3rd option, something like ‘blank-this’, to handle posts which are attacks, or just plain foul.
I agree with George.
In a perfect world the Like/Dislike would be a self-policing mechanism for spammers and the worst trolls. But I don’t think Polaris qualifies. I think he’s wrong, but that’s something for debate not for voting him off the island.
Ditto @George and @Michael’s points about “Dislike.” That’s one of the reasons that Facebook has never implemented that button.
Polaris’s posts definitely shouldn’t be hidden because of their content. Pete on the other hand…
As far as “Dislike” — perhaps simply changing it to “Objectionable” and altering the graphic from a red thumbs down to a “No” (Slash/Circle) would be trigger a shift in behavior.
Just to add to the ‘pile on’, the new Like/Dislike rating system is one of the main reasons I no longer post comments here. Actually, on many threads, I get so frustrated with having to ‘expand’ a comment, that I just give up and stop reading altogether. I think a system like this is more akin to a ‘popularity contest’, than helping to add any substance to the conversation.
I already live with 3 Teen Terrors – I come here to play with the adults…
I personally think the new system is working just fine. Maybe it would be easy enough to implement a check box to do this: show all hidden comments. And maybe once a user clicks that box, the setting will be remembered for all other threads they read.
A more complicated approach would be to let a user set a threshold (for number of dislikes, or net likes-dislikes). Only comments beyond that threshold would be hidden.
I’m finding the voting more interesting than I thought I would. My first thought was “dislike” but now despite all the “hot debate” I am more neutral. I wouldn’t call it “well loved,” but it’s kind of a bonus to watch the dynamics play out.
And maybe some people should be moderated down. At first I didn’t see Wayne’s response to me, because it was below the threshold. Now it’s back and I see this:
Resource please? How much effort does it take to google “83% spending cuts, and 17% tax increase?”
The answer is wall-to-wall. It is not a clever response to ask for a resource you can get in five seconds.
Is it really worth my time to even see the question?
Not much, especially since someone invented lmgtfy.com.
lmgtfy …. heh
@CB: Included in that 48% are MOST major corporations, who profit DIRECTLY from US citizens spending their hard earned dollars to buy their products. That is insulting to me. If I make profit in my business, I CANNOT avoid paying taxes on that profit. Simple, right? Make it so.