...The House GOP’s new debt-limit demands raise the powerful suspicion that its purpose these past few years, in playing chicken with government default, was never to limit government spending. It was just to mess with Obama. The strategy won Republicans spending concessions early on, but October’s government shutdown proved a complete fiasco for them. Now they’re just trying to show that they can get something—anything–out of Obama. What that something is scarcely matters.
Soon after the October shutdown began, Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-Ind., blurted out to the Washington Examiner, “We have to get something out of this. And I don’t know what that even is.” Now that lament is the official position of the House GOP. They want something in return for keeping the U.S. Treasury out of default. They’re no longer (and probably, deep down, never were) terribly interested in what that is. It’s a lousy bargaining position, and an even lousier justification for years of damaging equivocation about whether Congress would fulfill its responsibility to pay its bills.