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Monday, July 25, 2011

Limbaugh Announces Potential Debt Ceiling Deal

A few minutes ago on his radio show, Rush Limbaugh announced the latest potential deal for raising the debt ceiling.

He spoke an hour ago with House Speaker John Boehner, who “filled me in on what is the latest proposal on the table.” According to Boehner via Limbaugh, “Boehner and Reid and McConnell are working among themselves.” Limbaugh said, “Sen. McConnell is on the same page with Boehner now.”

Limbaugh said, “The deal is that they're going to offer Obama $1.1 trillion in cuts, $1 trillion in debt limit increase,” and “appoint six members of each chamber to recommend the cuts.” “Each Congressional leader will get three appointees.”

Limbaugh said of the deal, “This short-term deal has no tax increases in it.” He added, “These are real rate cuts. There will not be any defense cuts in the 1.1 trillion.” According to Limbaugh, “The second round would require a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment.” I take that to mean that the Republicans would demand a vote on the Balanced Budget Amendment next spring before extending the debt limit, but not demand its passage.

When Limbaugh asked if the $1.1 trillion in cuts would happen now or later, he said Boehner told him, “the 12 members of the blue-ribbon panel will make that decision.” Limbaugh worried, “We don't know what the cuts are and we don't know when they will occur.” He said, “This takes us through next April.”

Limbaugh seemed skeptical of the deal: “I'm still assimilating all of this.” But he didn't condemn the deal and seemed mildly supportive of this fact: “They are denying Obama what he really wants, which is a deal that will take them beyond 2012.” Limbaugh declared to Obama, “You're not even in the game at all.”

Is this real? I have no reason to doubt Limbaugh's close relationship to leading Republicans. I'm more skeptical of whether Harry Reid is on board with this. But an AP story indicates it might be real.

But I take this potential deal as a hopeful sign in many ways. Yes, it simply postpones the debt ceiling debate for another 9-12 months. But this is a losing issue for the Republicans, when Obama has repeatedly offered a long-term solution to the problem. As for the $1.1 trillion in cuts, it's far from ideal, but having six Democrats on the blue-ribbon committee means that there will not be cuts controlled by Republicans. The fact that Limbaugh is uncertain about this suggests it's not such a terrible deal for liberals, considering the dire circumstances that Republicans have put this country in. Obama will take a political hit by backing down from a veto threat now, but next spring he'll be able to do an “I told you so” when another debt crisis looms and the Republicans will be, once again, standing for the principle of tax cuts for wealthy, which will hurt them in the elections.

As always, it's so bizarre that the Republican leaders are running to a right-wing crackpot like Rush Limbaugh to announce their plans and desperately try to convince him not to bring the conservative movement down against this. As I note in my new book, The Most Dangerous Man in America: Rush Limbaugh's Assault on Reason, it shows how much the Republican politicians must bow before Limbaugh, no matter how much it harms the country.

Crossposted at DailyKos.

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