Is Joe Going Low Energy? Readers Respond. #3

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From TPM Reader PT

I can’t help wondering if the Trump Administration’s “negotiations” with the Speaker of the House are real and good-faith, or whether they’re some kind of theater and posturing.

The thing is — Kevin McCarthy can’t negotiate on behalf of the House, and everyone knows it. In this regard, the situation is exactly analogous with 2011, when John Boehner was negotiating with the White House, made a deal, but then couldn’t get the rest of the House to support it (IIRC he got shivved by his deputy, Eric Cantor, who then hilariously lost a primary challenge a year or two later). In 2011 a lot of people didn’t understand the dynamic, but in 2023 I’m pretty sure everyone does.

So given that McCarthy can’t get the House to sign off on anything less than the bill they already passed, and given that he won’t bring a bill that passes via a handful of Republicans aligning with the Democrats, where’s Biden’s incentive to offer anything substantive? For Biden, it would be all downside, because he can’t possibly offer enough to get a debt ceiling bill through Congress, but he certainly can offer enough to destroy his standing with the rest of the country.

I’m pretty sure that Biden knows all this, and certainly everyone else around him does as well. That’s why I suspect that this is all about getting into position for some form of Executive Branch action, keeping the public image of the reasonable guy who tried everything, etc.

At least, I hope that’s what this is.

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