Cross Your Fingers That House Ultras Reject Short-Term Debt Ceiling Hike

Moneybox
A blog about business and economics.
Oct. 10 2013 11:25 AM

Cross Your Fingers That House Ultras Reject Short-Term Debt Ceiling Hike

183722499
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 09: Guys, we need a plan.

Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images

House Republican leaders are now floating the idea of a six-week increase in the debt ceiling, which would essentially allow the shutdown fight to continue as a war of hashtags and anecdotes about National Parks while forestalling the serious economic trauma of a debt ceiling breach. Substantively, this move would achieve nothing. Procedurally, it's an effort to keep doing what John Boehner does best—keep his caucus together.

That's why the best hope for the country is to keep your fingers crossed that the ultras in the House reject the plan.

The key to the whole drama thus far has been that while mainstream GOP representatives don't necessarily approve of the course the least-compromising segment of their caucus has chosen, they don't want to actually have a fight with them about it. The "true conservative" brand has enormous strength and prestige inside Republican Party politics, and very few members actually want to find themselves in an above-board intra-party fight in which they don't get to be the true conservatives.

But that's a problem for Boehner and Eric Cantor and their supporters. For the country, the leadership's focus on caucus unity is a disaster. As Robert Costa says, if this gambit fails then the leadership may have no choice other than to accept the need to split their caucus and come up with a plan that Democrats will also support. That's what the country needs—bipartisan center-out majorities to reopen the government and avoid default, not strategies built from the right-in whose purpose is to preserve the strength of the GOP caucus.

Matthew Yglesias is the executive editor of Vox and author of The Rent Is Too Damn High.

TODAY IN SLATE

Culturebox

The End of Pregnancy

And the inevitable rise of the artificial womb.

Doctor Tests Positive for Ebola in New York City

How a Company You’ve Never Heard of Took Control of the Entire Porn Industry

The Hot New Strategy for Desperate Democrats

Blame China for everything.

The Questions That Michael Brown’s Autopsies Can’t Answer

Foreigners

Kiev Used to Be an Easygoing Place

Now it’s descending into madness.

Technology

Don’t Just Sit There

How to be more productive during your commute.

There Has Never Been a Comic Book Character Like John Constantine

Which Came First, the Word Chicken or the Word Egg?

  News & Politics
The Slate Quiz
Oct. 24 2014 12:10 AM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 23 2014 5:53 PM Amazon Investors Suddenly Bearish on Losing Money
  Life
Outward
Oct. 23 2014 5:08 PM Why Is an Obscure 1968 Documentary in the Opening Credits of Transparent?
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 23 2014 11:33 AM Watch Little Princesses Curse for the Feminist Cause
  Slate Plus
Working
Oct. 23 2014 11:28 AM Slate’s Working Podcast: Episode 2 Transcript Read what David Plotz asked Dr. Meri Kolbrener about her workday.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 23 2014 6:55 PM A Goodfellas Actor Sued The Simpsons for Stealing His Likeness. Does He Have a Case?
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 23 2014 11:47 PM Don’t Just Sit There How to be more productive during your commute.
  Health & Science
Science
Oct. 23 2014 5:42 PM Seriously, Evolution: WTF? Why I love the most awkward, absurd, hacked-together species.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.