For any conservative, the options surrounding the debt ceiling vote are not wonderful. But here are a few questions that I wish those who are militantly in the "NO!" camp about the Boehner plan would answer -- seriously.
1. Can they sketch out a "path to victory" for legislation that achieves the larger level of cuts they're insisting on? That is, a way that the Democrat-controlled Senate will pass it and the President will sign it?
2. If so, please provide it. If there is no such path, are they certain that no harm will come to the US economy or US investors -- certain enough to risk the fiscal health of the country -- in the event of a default? Are they concerned about the issue of US credibility in the world economy?
3. If economic harm does come in the event of a default, how can they justify their willingness to repudiate a package that, while not perfect, was acceptable enough (given the fact that Republicans control only the House) to earn the nod of conservative stalwarts like Paul Ryan?
4. In the event of a default, could they please explain any rationale for believing that voters will not hold Republicans and/or the Tea Party responsible for ensuing political harm?
5. For those who are now angry that the Boehner plan might be "transformed" into the Reid plan, do they understand the following?: Every Republican defection makes it necessary to find a replacement Democrat vote for debt ceiling legislation to pass. If Republicans would hang together, it would be possible to make President Obama and Harry Reid come to terms with legislation that, at least, does not impose new taxes.
The more Republicans who defect, the more necessary it becomes to "moderate" the legislation to gain Democrat support. That means a greater chance of tax increases.
Republicans can't achieve everything they want, this time. But they can get through a bill that's a solid B , and advance their aim of electing more conservatives next year to take the next step.
My fear is that at a certain point, normal Americans -- the ones who are not attuned to every nuance of the policy or political back-and-foth of Washington, D.C. -- are going to decide that those who would gamble with the possible economic repercussions of default (especially during already-precarious economic times) are not responsible enough to be trusted with governance. Given the media's well-known ideological predilections, believe me, the "irresponsible" narrative isn't going to be pinned on intransigent Democrats -- or President "No Plan" Obama.
Let's hope that the conservative principles that we all cherish are not going to be the reason that the GOP ends up snatching defeat from the jaws of victory -- and we end up with a tax-raising Democrat bill with a few Republicans signing on, rather than forcing the President, and some Democrats, to sign a bill that is good-enough-for-now given the political reality that the GOP doesn't control any body except the House.