GOP ‘Shredding the American Political Process’

[Boehner’s debt-reduction bill] needed to be bipartisan, but was written in secret to be as partisan as possible. The proposal needed to be sensible, but would instead force us to go through all of this again in six months and would mandate approval of a constitutional amendment in both chambers before House Republicans would allow the United States to pay its bills. Think about that for a moment. Elected GOP lawmakers have come to believe extortion is a legitimate tool to get Congress to pass an amendment to the U.S. Constitution. When I talk about Republicans shredding the American political process, this is what I’m talking about.

Steve Benen at Washington Monthly

View of Deficit Default Crisis from Britain: ‘GOP Seems Even Loonier, Crazier and More Reckless Than They Do Stateside’

British ex-pat Andrew Sullivan, a lapsed supporter of the Republican Party who lives in Washington, has been back home in England for the past couple of weeks. He says the tea-party driven deficit default crisis looks even more bizarre from across the pond:

When I explain the details of Obama’s last Grand Bargain … most Brits see it as a Cameron-conservative-style austerity measure.

From this side of the Atlantic, the great game of chicken now being played by the American political class with the debt ceiling is regarded as a sign that America — or rather, America’s Republicans — has gone completely insane. Everyone in Europe is desperately trying to stave off default — and here is the most powerful economy on earth actually hoping for it! When I explain the details of Obama’s last Grand Bargain – a debt reduction built on a ration of 3:1 spending cuts and tax increases – most Brits see it as a Cameron-conservative-style austerity measure. They simply cannot understand why the GOP doesn’t take what would for any sane conservative in any civilized country be a no-brainer. I’m reduced to trying to explain what passes for “conservatism” in America is nothing of the kind – just know-nothing, fundamentalist, Manichean pseudo-conservatism. From this distance, the GOP seems even loonier, crazier and more reckless than they do stateside.

GOP Tax Boss Grover Norquist: Allowing Bush Tax Cuts to Expire ‘Not Technically a Tax Increase’

Washington Post, via Jonathan Chait:

[According] to [Grover] Norquist’s interpretation of the Americans for Tax Reform pledge, lawmakers have the technical leeway to bring in as much as $4 trillion in new tax revenue — the cost of extending President George W. Bush’s tax cuts for another decade — without being accused of breaking their promise. “Not continuing a tax cut is not technically a tax increase,” Mr. Norquist told us. So it doesn’t violate the pledge? “We wouldn’t hold it that way,” he said.

Chait responds: “It’s pretty strange, isn’t it? Apparently Norquist interprets his pledge in some ultra-literal way that precludes it, in the case, from fulfilling its primary purpose. On the other hand, a plan to pass a one-dollar tax hike while cutting federal spending in half would violate the pledge.”