Republican Strategists To GOP Lawmakers: Please Don’t Blow It On The Debt Ceiling

AP

Republican strategists would feel a lot better about the party’s chances in this year’s midterms if it weren’t for some Republican lawmakers.

The Hill reported Saturday that the looming debt ceiling battle has a number of GOP strategists “anxious about the party’s capacity to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.”

Only months removed from a government shutdown that represented a huge embarrassment for Republicans on Capitol Hill, some strategists are urging their party’s lawmakers to cool it with their demands for concessions ahead of the Feb. 7 debt ceiling deadline.

“What Republicans have to realize [is] the political winds are in our direction. We can’t risk changing the winds at this stage,” GOP strategist Matt Mackowiak told The Hill. “You can shut down the Obama agenda completely if you have the Senate.”

One unnamed strategist told The Hill that another GOP pratfall on the debt ceiling might be the Democrats’ only hope to win back control of the House. And here’s longtime strategist Mark McKinnon’s straight-forward take on the situation.

“When Republicans screw with the debt ceiling and threaten a government shutdown, their unfavorable ratings go up. When they talk about Obamacare, Democrats’ unfavorables go up.”

He has a point, but polls also show that tea party voters don’t really care about raising the debt ceiling. It’s unclear if Republicans in Congress will heed the advice anyway.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) already foreshadowed a coming debt ceiling fight last month, and The Hill noted that fiery tea partiers like Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) “are sounding as combative as ever.”

President Obama has long insisted that he won’t negotiate around the debt ceiling, but that hasn’t stopped the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) from threatening default in an effort to undermine the Affordable Care Act.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Kludt is a reporter for Talking Points Memo based in New York City, covering media and national affairs. Originally from South Dakota, Tom joined TPM as an intern in late-2011 and became a staff member during the 2012 election. He can be reached at tom@talkingpointsmemo.com.
LIKE US ON FACEBOOK