Could it be that Michele Bachmann has been visiting Jan Brewer’s medicine cabinet? As we noted in our year-end review, the Arizona governor actually said and did some pretty sane stuff in the last year; now it almost looks as if several other prominent teabaggers are engaged in similar flirtations with reality. Just look at this National Journal article about the prospects for a clean Debt Ceiling bill — Bachmann, who like other House Republicans seemed willing to hold a gun to the nation’s head last fall, is not quite going so far as to actually support a clean debt ceiling increase, but she’s also not holding hands with other Tea Party Caucus members and steering the economy toward a cliff this time around:
“What I’ve heard from other members,” Bachmann says, “is that this is not going to be the hill that they’re going to die on.”
“You have to know when to hold them and you have to know when to fold them,” added Bachmann, who isn’t advocating for a clean debt-ceiling bill. “You just need to be wise to know when to have political fights. It isn’t that our allegiance to principles have changed; it hasn’t at all. You just need to know when your opportunities are and when to exercise your leverage.”
Why, that sounds incredibly reasonable and measured, Rep. Bachmann. What’s your dosage, incidentally?
Bachmann’s not the only one, apparently. Rep. Raul Labrador of Idaho, usually a reliable teabag flinger (though nowhere close to Bachmann in frothing insanity) supports bringing a clean debt-ceiling bill to the floor:
“Give the Democrats their vote. We don’t have to vote for it.”
In other words, fine, you socialists can avoid default, but I’ll still cast my symbolic vote against it to prove how pure I am. Also, the Koch brothers told me to shut up until after we try to take the Senate, but you didn’t hear that from me, no way.
It’s even looking like House Republicans may quietly ignore the “Hastert Rule,” the informal prohibition on bringing any bills that lack a Republican majority. Obamacare is a done deal, and holding their breath until they turn blue isn’t going to get the baggers anywhere, so they may be willing to let the debt limit pass, although they will of course vote against it themselves.
While Rep. John Fleming of Louisiana doesn’t want a clean bill first, he says “there is some merit” to conservative members saying a clean bill should just move forward now. “We’re at a point now where we’ve got about as much discretionary spending as we can get out of this administration,” he says. He estimated that as many as 40 Republicans will vote against a debt-ceiling increase no matter what’s attached to it.
Still, that’s a big step forward from the usual talk about shutting down the government and insisting that a debt default would be no big deal. Whatever’s being sneaked into their food, we’re in favor of it.
And Shelly? We’ll keep an eye on her. Or at least a little to the left of her.
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