For sheer cynicism it’s hard to top McConnell’s latest bright idea, which is essentially to pass legislation that will give the Obama administration the power to raise the debt ceiling, subject to a 2/3rds over-ride by Congress. The practical effect would be to raise the debt ceiling while allowing Republicans to vote “against” doing so with impunity:
Politically, the new debt process is a McConnell classic in that it seeks to shift all of the blame for any debt increase on to the president and Democrats. Republicans would be free to vote in opposition without the consequences of risking default.
Getting to a two-thirds majority in the Senate to override a veto will be immensely difficult for Republicans, who have only 47 votes at this stage. Even in the Republican controlled House it would be a climb, but going into the 2012 elections, the plan offers three opportunities then to put Democrats on the spot.
What this signals is McConnell’s recognition that he’s overplayed his hand, and that if the Socialist Death Panels have to euthanize grandma because her social security check bounced* the GOP is going to get the lion’s share of the blame (where have we seen this movie before?).
I’m hoping Obama calls this bluff.