Liberal sites rush to accuse the Republican Party of “blinking” in the debt ceiling negotiations, for the Party’s apparent willingness to hand President Obama the unilateral power to hike the debt ceiling, provided he agrees to submit to a series of votes on each hike immediately before the 2012 election. Essentially, Republicans would hand Obama a substantive victory, in allowing him to keep the United States from defaulting on its debts, in exchange for a political victory, and the ability to keep debt and finance sharply in the public eye through election season.
Republicans have — in a way — “caved.” But I don’t think the move is anywhere near as cynical as some of my peers seem to believe. Remember, if the Republicans win big in 2012, on the backs of these (assumedly) unpopular votes, they receive the ability to make massive cuts, and unwind any financial decision President Obama makes between now and then. If they don’t expect to win, yes, this is a cynical ploy. But if they reasonably expect to win because of these votes, it’s just a remarkable example of effective big-picture thinking.
But, take a look at this primary field. Any expectation that Republicans “win big” in 2012 is patently unreasonable. So it’s hubris, not cynicism!