A couple weeks ago I told you about how Michelle Bachmann and Joe Walsh were conspiring to make my head explode. They were doing this by suggesting that Obama is being dishonest when he suggests that if the debt ceiling is not raised, then the US government will default on its debt. While this could be conceived of as minimally true, it's just damn annoying since nobody really cares whether it's "technically" default when the US government no longer has enough money to pay all of its bills, so long as we continue to pay interest on treasury bills. *yawn* It's like the incessant debate a year ago about whether we were still in a recession or not. "Technically" you need to get over your damn selves and do your damn jobs.
Anyway, today I was listening to NPR (I know, news flash) and they were talking about the debt ceiling talks (again... shocking, I know). As I understand it, there are currently two main plans to raise the debt ceiling. The Republican plan raises the debt ceiling in a way that requires us to have this debate again in a few months (in 2012). The Democratic plan raises the debt ceiling in a way that requires us to have this debate again in a few more months (in 2013).
Now the Democrats are not fans of the Republican plan. (I know. You just fell off of your chair at that shocking news. You back up now? OK, good.) But the Democrats are sticking to their talking points of, "the Republicans are going to bring us to the brink of default with these tactics." Blah blah blah. Listen up guys, you can't say the Republicans are going to cause us to default when they have a plan that would allow the debt ceiling to be raised. That doesn't even make any sense. And even the most checked-out Americans can look at that statement and think, "Huh?" (Yes, that's about all most Americans probably have to say about this whole debt ceiling business, so you should just be aware of that.)
Democrats, you've gotta' up your game. You've gotta' be able to think on your feet. You've got to be able to counter when they parry. (Yeah, I have no idea if that analogy makes any sense. I took like three weeks of fencing in high school PhysEd.) When the GOP was all, "no tax increases," you were right on message. You say you're willing to compromise on entitlements, but the GOP is being stubborn. But when the GOP presents a plan that actually would raise the debt ceiling, you've gotta' respond to that. Say that it's crazy to have this discussion again in six months. Say that Americans want Congress to solve this problem now. (We do, by the way.) Say that nothing's going to change between now and then and that everybody needs to put on their big boy pants and make some tough decisions now. Say, "we can't kick this can down the road." (Republicans love that saying. You should so be using it against them.)
Whatever! Just say something that doesn't make it sound like you don't know what to do now that the GOP has a plan that flies in the face of your current talking points. The GOP is much better at the spin game and you know it. So stay on your toes. Anticipate their next move. And then lunge! (See that? Another fencing reference. It's like I know the exact social references that resonate with the American people.) At least give it a shot. Because "they're gonna' make us default".... not gonna fly.