The fractured and fragmented GOP is watching the debt ceiling fight blow up in their faces, then like clockwork Obama dropped the Social Security bomb on them.
Here is the video of Obama talking Social Security checks in a CBS Evening News interview:
Obama told Scott Pelley, “I cannot guarantee that those checks go out on August 3rd if we haven’t resolved this issue. Because there may simply not be the money in the coffers to do it.” The Social Security attack is always effective for Democrats, but this one is a mushroom cloud because of the Republican support for killing Medicare. America’s seniors were already upset with the GOP over Medicare, so imagine what is going to happen if they don’t get their Social Security checks on August 3?
The Republican caucus is fractured. Mitch McConnell is trying to defuse the crisis with an odd little plan that would give Obama the power to raise the debt limit in three phases, but at each phase he would face a non-binding potential 2/3 vote of disapproval in the Congress. John Boehner is “pissed.” Eric Cantor’s private feud with Boehner is inching closer to open warfare, Mitch McConnell has knifed Cantor in the back with his plan, and the topper is the release of secret memo from Cantor that lays out how much of Medicare/Medicaid he is dreaming of cutting.
By getting out ahead of Republicans and sending the message that he wants America’s vets and seniors to get their checks but he can’t guarantee it, Obama is winning the message war. The president has zero incentive to compromise right now. Republicans gambled on a hard line strategy in these negotiations, and it is backfiring.
Instead of backing off, Obama is turning up the heat. The default will appeal to the GOP base, but the leadership knows that this is a disaster waiting to happen. Eric Cantor and others are still waiting for Obama to cave, and that could be a huge mistake. Many House Republicans don’t seem to understand that they are in a position of weakness here.
It was the Republicans who fashioned this debt ceiling noose and placed it around their own necks. What they never counted on was Barack Obama’s willingness to be their hangman.