Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) just blinked, and the Frustrighti are furious. (More)

With no guest writer today, Morning Feature takes a nutshell look at yesterday’s developments in the debt ceiling negotiations.

The Blink

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has proposed a “backup plan” on raising the debt ceiling – Let Democrats Do It. The details are complicated, but here’s the gist:

  • President Obama would notify Congress of his intent to raise the debt ceiling.
  • The House and Senate could object with a “resolution of disapproval.” Such resolutions would almost certainly pass in the GOP-controlled House, and could be passed by a simple majority in the Senate.
  • Even if the Senate also passed the resolution, President Obama could veto it, and Democrats in the House and Senate would sustain the veto.
  • President Obama could then raise the debt ceiling, and propose matching spending cuts for approval by Congress.

Minority Leader McConnell said this would put the burden on President Obama to propose specific spending cuts. Anti-tax agitator Grover Norquist seemed to support the proposal in an interview with the National Review Online, then backtracked later in a post at the Americans for Tax Reform website, saying he supports “forcing the President to put his spending cut plan in writing.”

Translation: Republicans want spending cuts, but can also read polls and want Democrats to take the political fallout. In McConnell’s speech on the Senate floor, he admitted that his primary goal is the 2012 presidential election:

But after years of discussions and months of negotiations, I have little question that as long as this President is in the Oval Office, a real solution is unattainable.

So when it comes to spending cuts: Let Democrats Do It.

Republicans are divided on the proposal. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called it “good work.” Senator Ron Paul (R-TX) rejected it, saying “Congress should assume responsibility for itself.”

The Fury

The Frustrighti are not divided. They see the proposal as giving President Obama carte blanche to raise the debt ceiling with support from House and Senate Democrats alone, with any proposed spending cuts not likely to be enacted.

Michelle Malkin called it “Another mortifying McConnell head-banging-against-the-wall moment.” RedState’s Erick Erickson initially called for burning Minority Leader McConnell in effigy, then dialed his title back to “Mitch McConnell Just Proposed ‘The Pontius Pilate Pass the Buck Act of 2011.'”

Heritage Foundation PAC CEO Michael Needham said “The plan that we are reading reports about today is a serious walk back from that position and would seemingly trade the leverage needed to achieve reforms in return for political gains,” prompting this reader comment:

This is an excellent example of :
1) why I will no longer contribute to the RNC as of today
2) why am registering as an independent after 47 years as a registered Republican as of this week
3) Republican negotiating skills … the 1st was the actual $523M budget cut (down sharply from the promised $100B)

[…] This may seem harsh but the Repubs seem to have no strategy to prevail, no communications plan, no fallback position and no political will … instead, it seems, they’ve worked overtime to co-op the new members.

[…] Finally, the Repub cry is “we only have a third of the power, e.g., we’re ‘helpless.'” I wonder how the Dems would fare if the roles were reversed?

That sounds very familiar….


Happy Wednesday!