If President Obama truly is not willing to see the American people “get harmed” in the case that the GOP holds them “hostage,” he is going to get fleeced when the debt ceiling inevitably needs to be raised sometime next spring. There are enough Republicans, especially Tea Party-supported freshmen, who might be willing to take the nation’s debt hostage if put to it.
The example of Tom Coburn is illustrative. It’s hard to square Coburn’s support for the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission’s revenue-raising proposals with his track record and his campaign promises to keep taxes low, unless you give credit to his statements that he considers the mounting debt an existential threat to the country. I think that his recent impassioned speech before the deficit commission on the need to reduce the debt lends credence to his threats to block the debt limit increase:
Obviously Mike Crapo, who also backs the commission’s proposal, is thinking something along the same lines, as are Jim DeMint, Mike Lee of Utah, and a number of other Republicans. If Obama’s liberal base found his tax compromise unacceptable, they might be in for another betrayal when it comes time to raise the debt limit.