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Demonstrating the shrewd political acumen for which he has become known, House Speaker John Boehner has come up with a new strategy to galvanize American voters before the election. Seeking to top his electrifying "Pledge to America" campaign from 2010, Boehner promised yesterday a bold new plan that may be the popular Republican campaign in history: Debt Ceiling Standoff, Take Two.
The Speaker is aware that the debt ceiling is a complicated legislative mechanism well beyond the understanding of most real Americans, so he asked me to help make sense of it. I will now take several questions from an imaginary interlocutor in order to help the ignorant electorate understand this exciting campaign.
Q: Didn't Boehner already do this last year?
A: Yes, that's why it's Debt Ceiling Standoff, Take Two. Duh.
Q: But wasn't it wildly unpopular?
A: That's just what the arrogant liberal media wants you to think. But Speaker Boehner knows that Americans can't wait for another debt ceiling standoff. That's why he said, "We shouldn't dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It's an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction."
Q: But isn't a standoff kind of the definition of inaction?
A: See, you're not thinking this through. It will be a calculated act of inaction in order to produce a subsequent act of action.
Q: Just like the last time?
A: Well, last time was different because our obstinate elitist president didn't negotiate in good faith. That's why the Speaker wants to do it again.
Q: But didn't Boehner make a budget-cutting deal with Obama and then pull out?
A: What have you been reading? Talking Points Memo? If you'd listened to the Speaker's speech, you'd understand that it was all Obama's fault: "Last year, in our negotiations with the White House, the president and his team put a number of gimmicks on the table...Maybe in another time, with another Speaker, gimmicks like these would be acceptable."
Q: By another time, did he mean last year? Because I thought that Boehner actually accepted the compromise plan, but then the crazy wingers in the House wouldn't go for it.
A: You certainly are a naive one. The retreat was planned all along, just a little bit of political theater in order to create the conditions for action.
Q: What action?
A: Another debt standoff, of course, which as I already explained, is the key to more action!
Q: I'm so confused.
A: Don't worry, it's complicated. The point is that the Speaker's plan will restore confidence and fix the economy.
Q: But didn't the last debt ceiling standoff kill investor confidence and downgrade our credit?
A: [Sigh] The Speaker explained that bit in his speech too. Who was president when the downgrade happened?
A: Now you're getting it. If I may quote our great Speaker: "A president on whose watch the United States lost its gold-plated triple-A rating for the first time in our history."
Q: What about the financial community? Won't they be alarmed?
A: Speaker Boehner is aware that there will be some "wailing and gnashing of teeth" on Wall Street, but he won't abandon his principles just because a few bankers are upset as long as they keep donating to the Republican Party.
Q: Well, I still think it's irresponsible to default on America's debt.
A: It is irresponsible. The Speaker said so in his speech.
Q: Then why would he do it?
A: Because as he put it, "It would be more irresponsible to raise the debt ceiling without taking dramatic steps to reduce spending and reform the budget process."
Q: You mean action?
A: You got it.
Q: So...uh...what happens if Romney wins?
A: Don't worry, the Speaker is doing everything in his power to make sure that doesn't happen. President Obama is the best thing that ever happened to the Republican Party.
Q: So I guess that we can look forward to four more years of action?
A: Bingo! I can hardly wait.