Your morning jolt: Behind last year’s GOP debate over the debt ceiling

My AJC colleague Dan Malloy in Washington just finished the new book on the tea-party driven Class of 2010 of the U.S. House by Robert Draper.

“Do Not Ask What Good We Do” focuses on Republican freshmen Jeff Duncan of South Carolina and Allen West of Florida, Michigan Democrat octogenarian John Dingell. But Malloy notes that the book includes a closed-door vignette involving U.S. Reps. Phil Gingrey of Marietta and Tom Price of Roswell.

Less than a month before the Aug. 2 debt ceiling deadline, House Republican leaders had invited an economist named Jay Powell, a former Treasury Department official, to explain to the caucus the severe consequences of violating the deadline – beginning in that summer, when the government would only take in about a third of what it was obligated to spend. From Draper’s book:

“Gingrey…began by saying that until yesterday he had never heard of Powell’s Bipartisan Policy Center. ‘You did a nice job with your presentation,’ he said. ‘But we heard from Karl Rove yesterday –and frankly,’ he grinned, ‘I like him better.’ (Rove had met with Gingrey and about thirty other conservatives for breakfast the morning before, as part of a weekly ‘Theme Team’ gathering hosted by Congressman Jack Kingston [of Savannah]. Rove’s column ‘Obama Owns the Debt Ceiling Fiasco’ had just been published that same morning in The Wall Street Journal.)

“Then Gingrey proceeded to read an email off his BlackBerry, forwarded to him by a friend who was an investment broker, quoting various bankers and other sources casting doubts about the validity of the August 2 deadline. With evident satisfaction, Gingrey concluded, ‘I have made my point and will take my seat.’

“Republican Policy Committee chairman Tom Price interjected, ‘This is not the period for member statements. Unless you have a question for the gentleman, please hold your comments until the end.’

Eventually, Price voted for the compromise that raised the debt ceiling. Gingrey voted against it.

***
The 2008 Republican presidential ticket has found itself on opposite sides of the Indiana race between longtime U.S. Sen. Dick Lugar and his primary challenger. On Friday, former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin lined up against Lugar. From the Indianapolis Star.

Palin said she joined “commonsense conservatives in endorsing Richard Mourdock,” saying it wasn’t just Indiana but the nation “that benefits from sending the right senator to serve for the right reasons.”

“Senator Lugar’s 36 years of service as a senator are appreciated,” Palin wrote, “but it’s time for the torch to pass to conservative leadership in Washington that promises to rein in government spending now.”

McCain — who lost Indiana to Democrat Barack Obama in 2008 — is featured in a new radio ad for Lugar, rebutting charges that Lugar is Obama’s favorite Republican. He argues that Lugar “fought every day against Obama’s budget-busting proposals which have mortgaged our children’s futures” and said the senator’s “strong opposition to Obamacare helped spark Indiana’s involvement in the Supreme Court case to overturn the government’s takeover of health care.”

***
There’s no inkling that this might happen in Columbus next month, when Georgia Republicans gather, but the fact that it occurred on Sarah Palin’s home turf is fascinating. From the Alaska Dispatch:

After at least 12 years of the Alaska GOP being run by what those party newcomers call “establishment Republicans,” a new force is taking over: Alaska Republicans voted Russ Millette as the party’s new chairman and Debbie Holland-Brown as co-chair. They are both supporters of presidential candidate Ron Paul.

Similarly, the Boston Globe is reporting something of a revolt in Mitt Romney’s backyard:

Having all but locked up the Republican nomination for president, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney assembled a slate of delegates to support him at the Republican nominating convention in Tampa. But when Massachusetts Republicans went to their caucuses on Saturday, many didn’t vote for Mitt Romney’s picks. Less than half of Romney’s 27 chosen delegates won, and the losers included some notable Massachusetts Republicans – including former Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey and House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones Jr.

***
In case you missed it, below is a clip of President Barack Obama’s best line on Saturday night at the White House Correspondents Dinner. Again, Sarah Palin is the topic:

***
On the New York Times opinion page, Peter Bergen argues that both liberals and conservatives – for separate reasons — are turning a blind eye to this:

The president who won the Nobel Peace Prize less than nine months after his inauguration has turned out to be one of the most militarily aggressive American leaders in decades.

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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57 comments Add your comment

eli

April 30th, 2012
9:15 am

Gingrey’s actions, cited above, are a prime example of the problems conservatives face. They are morally and intellectually bankrupt.

They would rather listen to the advice of their political strategists than make decisions based on the best evidence available.

Never mind that they had did not really know who Jay Powell is, John Chambers and David Beers (both republicans) were telling party leaders that the debt ceiling is not something to mess around with. These are guys that you listen to when making these decisions. Not Joe the Plumber, not Karl Rove, to the experts in the field under legislation.

Ideologues, however, tend to think they know everything despite the fact that they tend to be the most misinformed.

bob

April 30th, 2012
9:35 am

Eli, it is not repubs that have added 5 trillion in debt over the last three years. The dem controlled senate has not passed a budget for over three years because they do not want to go on record with their spending, that is morally bankrupt.

Road Scholar

April 30th, 2012
9:41 am

Bob didn’t president Bush add 5 T to the debt under his reign? Didn’t he leave the economy in shambles? How did he fund Medicare Part D? The wars?

Bennie

April 30th, 2012
9:43 am

I suppose the “bankrupt” comment is unintentional irony coming from the Democrats.

DannyX

April 30th, 2012
9:57 am

“I suppose the “bankrupt” comment is unintentional irony coming from the Democrats.”

Really??? Maybe you can answer Road Scholar’s questions.

How do the Republicans plan on dealing with the hole in the budget caused by the massive Bush tax cuts that were accompanied with massive spending increases?

How are the trillion dollar wars going to be paid for? The new Department of Homeland Security? “Socialist” Medicare Part D?

bob and Bennie, what’s the plan?

eli

April 30th, 2012
10:16 am

Bob,

A very misguided statement. The GOP has racked up $10trillion in debt before President Obama came to office…in case you forgot about that. Secondly, a lot of the debt taken on by President Obama comes from obligations of the Bush admin. The Bush tax-cuts, Medicare Part D, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan…those were not President Obama’s ideas. Thirdly, Congress appropriates and authorizes federal expenditures. This Congress, brought to by the GOP and its naive Tea Party Caucus, has racked up a little over $3trillion in debt on its own.

Truth be told, the debt is not really an issue. It is a political issue because so many pundits have made it one, but it is not a security issue yet.

If you have not noticed, right-wing policies caused the recession and the apocalyptic right-wing rhetoric surrounding the economic recovery has not exactly woken up to the empirical evidence. Sure, unemployment is not back to 4.5%. Not one person in Washington thought it could be brought back to that level in 4 years, probably not 7 or 8 years either. So, just look at the numbers. The Affordable Healthcare Act has not been a job killer and appears to be an aid toward retiring, the Stimulus lowered the unemployment rate by .7 percentage points, the Auto-Bailouts saved another million jobs (according to businessweek and the wall street journal that number is actually 1.4 million jobs), then there are the payroll tax-cuts, and so on.

The point is, that money “spent” by the President did what we hoped it would (except for the GOP, they were hoping for failure) and it was worth it. We can not really say the same thing about the landmark Bush Admin. Policy known as the Iraq war…which cost about $1trillion to date and netted what? Over 100,000 dead Iraqi Civilians and 4,486 dead soldiers and serious loss of government credibility at home and abroad.

Marlboro Man

April 30th, 2012
10:21 am

Gingrey has no useful purpose.

Newt is not

April 30th, 2012
10:27 am

Obama is the white Bill Clinton.

Lynn43

April 30th, 2012
10:35 am

Newt?, You had better check what you wrote. I think you got it backwards.

Dr. Demento

April 30th, 2012
10:37 am

In response to eli and DannyX, the sounds of crickets chirping.

BigDawg

April 30th, 2012
11:08 am

Obama, you are no Bill Clinton! He worked with the Republicans to balance the budget, reform welfare, enact NAFTA. You have done the opposite!

Going Right

April 30th, 2012
11:12 am

My continuing question:
If you vote Democrat in November, you are giving implied consent to the present Administration having to borrow (at present, but growing) more than 40 cents of every dollar spent in the 2013 Budget. Do you honestly believe that this will keep our Republic from going bankrupt? Oh, I forgot: The POTUS wants to exact a 30% surcharge on the wealthy to help balance the budget. It is estimated by the CBO to bring in about 47 billion dollars in 10 years. That’s a cool 4.7 billion per year. According to BHO’s 2012 budget of 3.9 trillion, the 4.6 billion per year will help the government by giving it an extra day to spend it. At 3.9 trillion, that’s only a tad under 4.7 billion spent PER HOUR!. Think about that.
As Socialists, is this scenario REALLY what you leftist Democrats are going to vote for?

BigDawg

April 30th, 2012
11:12 am

Let’s talk about Nugent, not Solyndra, the Chevy Volt, the soon-to-be $16 trillion debt ($5 trillion of which is Obama’s), Fast and Furious or even Hilary Rosen.

Going Right

April 30th, 2012
11:17 am

This from another post which I asked: If we tax those who make $250,000/year at 100% of their earnings, it might balance the over-bloated BHO budget this coming year. Then, in the ensuing years, keep the 100% tax on those same folk; hmmmm. they chose not to make as much? Tax revenue down? Hmmm. Left with no incentive to work and earn money, those 400,000 or so have now become the “poor” and are now on the government dole. Look up the word “conundrum” in your dictionary and see what the result will be.
Please answer if this is doable.

Edward

April 30th, 2012
11:18 am

If there was really justice in this world, most of the GOP, especially those in Congress, would be dealt with like the traitors they really are. In their greed for power and wealth for themselves and their benefactors, they actively seek failure of the US economy and ruin of the middle class. They are like the Lannisters on “Game of Thrones”.

Marlboro Man

April 30th, 2012
11:26 am

Nugent was offended.

Weetamoe

April 30th, 2012
11:53 am

Is Obama going to explain the joke to Sasha and Malia? Obama has made more campaign trips than all the campaign appearances of every president since Nixon. Another *unprecedented* accomplishment is that he has compiled an enemy list longer than Nixon’s in a much shorter time period. And of course he has the distinctive talent of being both shifty and shiftless at the same time.

Michael #1

April 30th, 2012
11:59 am

Big Dawg, what a dumb statement. THE Tea Party has nade it impossible to be bipartiasin. Did you even read what he wrote man?
Michael

Cobbian

April 30th, 2012
12:15 pm

There is a real problem for fiscal conservatives in today’s Republican Party, both state and national. And it has to do with the treatment of women. Don’t moan and groan.

My very conservative sister is spitting mad about what Republicans did in our own state on abortions – again – and what happened nationally to the discussion of access to contraceptives. She very much supports Planned Parenthood. She supports the mandate of contraceptives in health insurance coverage, although she doesn’t think it should be free as long as the government has a program to help low income women get contraceptives. She thinks abortion, terrible as the situation is for any family facing such a choice, should remain legal because no one should make those kinds of decisions for anyone else. She thinks gay civil marriage is a matter of freedom and equality.

I am less conservative than she. When the campaign started I thought Romney might be okay – he did some good things while governor of Massachusetts. However, he is now wears the “idiot” label. He hasn’t shown leadership ability while campaigning – he has shown he is a doormat for extremists.

sheepdawg

April 30th, 2012
12:19 pm

gingrey is an idiot, elected by idiots. This story proves his lack of common intelligence. We can only hope for the day when voters are intelligent enough to not be taken in by his ilk. That day will be a long time coming in this state. (GA and SC were only states to support Noot – #49 and #50 in education).

Auntie Christ

April 30th, 2012
12:33 pm

Highlights from “The Republican’s Guide to American History”
–Before 01/19/2009 There was no deficit
–Before 01/19/2009 “Deficits don’t matter” (Caveat: only true when R’s are in charge)
–Before 01/19/2009 There was no national debt
–Before 01/19/2009 US economic outlook was rosy
–Before 01/19/2009 Housing market was booming
–Before 01/19/2009 No President had used AF 1 for campaign trips.
–Before 01/19/2009 No President ever appeared on a TV show
–Before 01/19/2009 No President ever took a vacation day
–Before 01/19/2009 Well, there was nothing before 01/19/2009, the world began that day, and all the wars, deficits, economic crises and measles are Obama’s fault.

Frederick Douglass

April 30th, 2012
12:45 pm

Before 01/19/2009 Every President was an unquestioned American; even Chester A. Arthur whose father attended his son’s swearing in ceremony even though Mr. Arthur (the father) wasn’t a U.S. citizen.

lmao

April 30th, 2012
12:54 pm

i love it…its his fault, there fault, repubs started this mess. democrats didnt do anything wrong..hey …blame game?? when does that stop and leadership begin..its obvious “hopey changey” didnt work., stimulus was a slow regrettable expense, war is still here, bubbles everywhere..here comes the inflation one next…Both sides are corrupt..tea party i commend you for calling them out…and the left thinks it was about them…i feel its time to hold all of them…ALL OF THEM accountable…top down. down up…i dont care…
Obama sux, bush sucked, but gone….the entire congress and media still run out country…good for you guys ..way to act like our congress does..he said she said…blah, blah..
arent we all just voting for the same Sh*t anyway….Obama loves war now, obamas healthcare wont hold..and still no ideas to make better from either side …5t in debt in 3 yrs…impressive!!!
im over the name calling and blaming…Obama was voted in to fix it..he had no background but he was black…so the black guy made promises and we gave him the checkbook…still not working..who wants this POTUS job? it sux…and so do our choices…

Penny Pincher

April 30th, 2012
1:02 pm

IMHO both parties are equally quilty of adding to the dept and should put aside their partisan agendas to get it fixed. It will take both spending cuts and revenue increases to have any hope of solving the issue. I am an independent and fed up with both parties. Cheers

td

April 30th, 2012
1:06 pm

I see all you libs just seem to be ignoring the facts on the table posted by “Going Right”.

Since it is proven that we can not tax our way out of this debt problem then it is going to tax spending cuts. What will be cut?

honested

April 30th, 2012
1:06 pm

Is anyone surprised at the outcome when petulant, self-important grown children are sent to do the business of governance?

Hint, to what job is karl rove elected or otherwise selected by the People?

honested

April 30th, 2012
1:08 pm

td,

Nice to see that your definition of ‘proof’ and ‘facts’ are no more in focus today than in the past.

td

April 30th, 2012
1:10 pm

For all of us who truly care about the United States of America, we must address the dangers and vices that are brought to the table by republicans. Republicans are not only America’a worst nightmare, but the cancer that is spreading in the world! GET THESE REPUBLICAN GOONS OUT OF OFFICE!!!!

emo

April 30th, 2012
1:16 pm

I’m surprised my congressweasel (Tom Price) ever actually cast a correct vote!

atllaw191

April 30th, 2012
1:18 pm

Interestingly, Sarah Palin wants a more conservative leadership in Washington (CUTTING SPENDING), but quit the Governorship of Alaska because she said it didn’t pay ENOUGH!

td

April 30th, 2012
1:27 pm

honested

April 30th, 2012
1:08 pm

Where was “Going right” wrong? Is it not true that you can tax the top 10% of wage earners at 100% and still not balance the Federal budget?

td

April 30th, 2012
1:29 pm

emo

April 30th, 2012
1:16 pm

How is the budget going to be balanced? What programs cut and what taxes raised?

WAW

April 30th, 2012
1:30 pm

td: I looked it up and GOON is a perfect description of Georgia Republicans:

goon [guːn]
n
1. a stupid or deliberately foolish person
2. (Business / Industrial Relations & HR Terms) US informal a thug hired to commit acts of violence or intimidation, esp in an industrial dispute
[partly from dialect gooney fool, partly after the character Alice the Goon, created by E. C. Segar (1894-1938), American cartoonist]

No wonder they want to go back to the good ole days, say about 1929.

td

April 30th, 2012
1:35 pm

WAW

April 30th, 2012
1:30 pm

What does your cut down have to do with balancing the budget and paying down a $15 trillion debt? Can we say deflection.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
1:37 pm

@Going Right – As a socialist commie mutant traitor that’s EXACTLY what I’m going for, because later, when the bill comes due, we’re going to sell your land and take your guns and your wealth and use it to pay for things. And maybe your organs too. Is that what you wanted to hear?

@TD – There, I didn’t ignore his ‘facts’….like he routinely ignores facts and questions he doesn’t like.

Tag Team Duo of idiocy you two are. Together with Strawman you form the Three Stooges.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
1:37 pm

@TD – We’re cutting the programs for ‘yo momma’ followed by, ‘whatever makes you cry.’

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
1:38 pm

“DEFICITS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!” Can we say deflection from the 1% taking from the 99%, from Etch a Sketch, from the failure of capitalism, and the hypocrisy of all things right wing?

Talk about distraction, thy name is TD.

reagan

April 30th, 2012
1:38 pm

gingrey sounds like a std

Madison

April 30th, 2012
1:40 pm

Rep Gingrey is little more than a lemming in the stream – following the Rovian manipulations and setting the perfect example of an out of touch politician who is married to lobbyists and is more concerned about the success of the Republican party than the success of the USA.

td

April 30th, 2012
1:46 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
1:37 pm

So where are you going tomorrow on May day (communist freedom day) to occupy tomorrow? Let me know because I want to show up and tell the police exactly who to hit with that first baton thrust.

Madison

April 30th, 2012
1:47 pm

How are cuts going to be made and the budget balanced?

1. Democrats are going to have to accept a plan that trims medicare and social security. Republicans are going to have to accept that cuts to the rest of government will REQUIRE a concurrent revenue increase to keep us out of a recession. The struggle will be to get both parties to accept that the tax increases will have to be phased back out as the economy gets stronger. The likes of Gingrey will never have that courage.
2. As for a balanced budget, not necessary. Just manageable debt. It works, has worked and will work. Read a little Hamilton.

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
1:53 pm

@TD – Well, look around tomorrow TD. I could be that guy across the street staring at you. Maybe I’m the guy calling you to sell you something. Maybe I am the guy tailing you in the car behind you.

I am everyone. I’m everywhere TD. I’m the voice inside your head telling you that you are wrong. Is this really even being posted? Who knows?

But please, please show up and tell the police just that, because I’ll be there filming the cops doing that, and sell it for a profit, or maybe I’m the guy they hit, who just got rich because he’s going to sue both the police AND you (thanks for the evidence by the way. :) I look forward to owning your business and home). They can subponea these records.

Or maybe I’m a cop, in my patrol car, waiting to have some idiot come up and ask me to hit someone with a baton….and I know just who to hit first. Here’s a hint…it isn’t the guy you point out.

Madison

April 30th, 2012
1:56 pm

td: tommorrow? I going to celebrate LAW DAY, established in 1958 by Pres. Eisenhower.
Open and accessible courts are the cornerstone of a free society. The framers of our Constitution recognized the importance of the courts when they made the judiciary one of the three coequal branches of our government.
The rule of law is what separates us from oppression.

Z

April 30th, 2012
2:10 pm

This 112th do nothing congress is filled with Republican extremist. Until these Republican extremist are voted out of office the destruction of America, with this congress will continue, to the detriment of all American’s. Everyone of these extremist congressmen/women should be voted out of office come the next election. If not, we will continue as a country to slide down the economic hole. Georgia has elected some of the worst of the Republican extremist’s. Just some of the extremist in Georgia, Gingrey, Broun, Price.

Mitt Romney is Milquetoast and will be so, against the stronger extremist in his party. Mitt Romney is not tuned in to the American People and clueless on the International front..except for maybe his contact with international banks and his offshore accounts.

Obama shines Internationally and that is what a President is supposed to do. Congress is suppose to take care of our Domestic Problems and this 112th Republican Controlled Congress is a total Failure at their Job! There IS a reason why this congress has a 10% approval rating, and the Republican extremist in this congress are the reason. Every single one of these Republican extremist need to be voted out this coming election, November 2012.

honested

April 30th, 2012
2:17 pm

td,

Like every May 1, I’ll be closed and my employees will have the day off with pay.

Whether bringing taxation back to the sane levels of the late ’90s solves all the budget problem at once or not, so what? TWELVE YEARS of inadequate taxation have produced what? TWELVE YEARS of unfunded war spending have done what?

Can everyone NOT see what the bogus rush toward ‘austerity’ has done in Britain?

tb

April 30th, 2012
2:25 pm

I’ll be slathering my germs all over everything. Anyone and everyone that I possibly can, I’ll be spreading my….’ideas’ around so I can make people sick just like me!

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
2:26 pm

Hi TD, that last customer that cold called you? That could have been me recording your voice for a secretly edited brietbart style video where you say that you want to legalize prostitution and kitten juggling.

lmao

April 30th, 2012
2:37 pm

Aaron and TB- you guys could run for office,it seems a fit..im right, no …im right and your an @!&#*#)..well your momma is….
I blame repubs…its W’s fault , i blame the dems..its O’s fault…
99% needs fairness, 1% is paying for everything…screw you …no!! screw you
corp arent people..yes they are!! its not fair…..wheyyyyy sniff wheeyyy….obama is a socialist, w is evil
i voted for barack because he looks like me or so all the white people think im cool..
blah blah
Government is not an answer!!!!
yes it is..they cure cancer

lmao

April 30th, 2012
2:40 pm

Aaron Burr V Mexico

April 30th, 2012
3:04 pm

@roftstompmyself – I have too much self respect to allow myself to be elected by the American people. Look at what they already elect. :)