Sen. McConnell actually did a good thing with the debt ceiling

Let’s do a little thought experiment. The Turtle got eleven Republicans in the Senate to vote for cloture on the debt limit extension. Many Conservatives are screaming that he surrendered and all is lost. But what would have happened if he hadn’t done that?

If there were no debt limit extension, the government would “shut down.” Anyone with half a brain would realize that no such thing would happen. Lots of “non-essential” (that means most gummint paycheck cashers) would go home and cry to the alleged news people that they couldn’t buy their favorite flavor of Häagen-Dazs to imitate Saint Joe the Benighted. Drive-bys would trumpet the hardships of people who will get full back pay once the curtain falls on this theatrical exercise. And before long, inevitably, Republicans would get blamed for the (non)chaos, and the push to dislodge dictatorial Dems would be set back a step. Not good.

The next push would be for Dems to lean harder on Senators Manchin and Sinema to get rid of the filibuster rule. Since there would be visuals of Republican cruelty to suffering public servants, it would get harder and harder for those two to hold the line. Once they crumble, no one’s life, liberty, or property would ever again be safe. HR1 would be just the start and, with it, your right to vote would be extinguished, giving permanent power to people who hate you.

So, what actually happened with the cloture vote? Mitch got his caucus to step out of the way of the Democrats’ rush to the cliff. He limply held the red flag in front of the Democrat bull and let them run right through. No Republican voted to increase the debt limit. And it’s unlikely that any will, since now the Dems can do it without Republican help.

The spectacle will be fifty Democrats voting in favor against fifty Republicans voting “No.” Kamala Harris will cast the tie-breaking vote if her guide dog works better than it did at the Border. The same drama will repeat with the next extension. It’s a key strategic issue. When your opponent is in a hole, don’t hand him a rope. Toss in a shovel so he can dig the hole deeper.

What’s crucially important is what will not happen. Manchin and Sinema will continue to be able to resist cries to change the filibuster rule. And this will preserve our elections, such as they are. With that preservation lives the hope of kicking the Marxists out of our way.

Mitch McConnell is not my favorite person. But it appears that he has allowed a tactical retreat to be crafted in such a way as to preserve a strategically important advantage. Let’s not criticize him for that. And who knows? Chucky Schumer may push too hard against Manchin and Sinema, leading them to sit on the other side of the Senate chamber. I’m not holding my breath, but….

Ted Noel MD is a retired Anesthesiologist/Intensivist who posts on social media as DoctorTed and @vidzette.

Image: Mitch McConnell (edited in befunky). YouTube screen grab.

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