Congress: No News Is Good News?

Well, what now? As I opine this early Friday a.m., House Republicans and other miscreants failed to take John Boehner’s advice to “get your ass in line” and support a plan to increase the debt limit and shave government spending. And the Senate still has to vote on the Harry Reid and gang plan — although if and when that happens it’s unlikely to get the necessary 60 votes.

Wonder if Kim Kardashian is having better success with her wedding plans? I digress. But hey. This tidbit of info is in keeping with my now long-established tradition of highlighting good news stories on Friday.

Although, I guess at this point depending on your view of the world, no news from Congress is good news. Or not. And if Tiny Tim Geithner has been fibbing about the consequences of a USA default or credit downgrade then you better get the women and children off the streets next week. Things will get really nasty.

The reason? It’s possible that neither plan currently being floated in the House and Senate will prevent a credit downgrade. And neither really address the big fish in the skillet: unsustainable government borrowing and spending — without corresponding tax increases.

Anyway, here are a couple of thoughtful perspectives on what’s happening Inside the Beltway.

First from Kimberly Strassel in the Wall Street Journal, “Boehner’s Moment of Truth“:

By Thursday evening, Mr. Boehner had moved a significant portion of his conference, though he proved unable to net the final few votes. Some remained wedded to their vow to never vote for a debt-ceiling hike. Some, like presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, continued to insist, ludicrously, that a failed deal wouldn’t be a problem. It is an open question if Mr. Boehner could have ever won these votes, no matter how big, deep and dramatic a budget-cutting deal he presented.

What he did do this week is position his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis, cuts more spending than any Democrat ever thought possible, and exposes the White House’s insincerity on the deficit and economic prosperity. The Republicans who yesterday undermined bill now bear sole responsibility for whatever political fallout comes next.

And the second from Charles Krauthammer in WaPo, “The great divide“:

We’re in the midst of a great four-year national debate on the size and reach of government, the future of the welfare state, indeed, the nature of the social contract between citizen and state. The distinctive visions of the two parties — social-democratic vs. limited-government — have underlain every debate on every issue since Barack Obama’s inauguration: the stimulus, the auto bailouts, health-care reform, financial regulation, deficit spending. Everything. The debt ceiling is but the latest focus of this fundamental divide.

The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous ubiquitous cliche. The problem is that these two visions are in competition, and the definitive popular verdict has not yet been rendered.

We’ll see how this all plays out this weekend. Or not.

In the meantime, I’ll keep checking my snail mailbox waiting for the Kim Kardashian invitation.

Now, for a Friday, that would be good news.

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