From Think Progress: Utah’s junior senator dabbles in extortion. In an interview on MSNBC’s Hardball last evening, Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) admitted that he is using the threat of a catastrophic default to try and force the Senate into rewriting the Constitution in favor of a permanent era of conservative governance.
CHRIS MATTHEWS: How many days do you think we have, on the outside, to get this debt ceiling through before we have a problem? How many days?
LEE: I don’t know, maybe ten days.
MATTHEWS: Okay, in ten days you want to change the United States Constitution by two-thirds vote in both houses? That’s what you’re demanding.
LEE: Yes. If possible we can’t change the Constitution just in Congress but we can submit it to the states. Let the states fight it out.
MATTHEWS: And you think you’re being reasonable by saying you want a two-thirds vote in the House, which is Republican, and in the Senate which is Democrat. You want the Democratic Senate, by a two-thirds vote, to pass a constitutional amendment or you want the house to come down?
LEE: Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying and I’ve been saying this for six months.
Senator Lee’s proposed amendment makes it functionally impossible to raise taxes by imposing a two-thirds supermajority requirement. It would also require America to return to 1966 spending levels — spending cuts that are so steep they would have made every single one of Ronald Reagan’s budgets unconstitutional. Because Lee wants to write these draconian cuts into the Constitution, We the People would lose our power to overrule these cuts by electing different leaders.
Extortion is too kind a word to describe Lee’s threat. And why is it that people who are pleased to describe themselves as “conservatives” always want to radically change our Constitution?
UPDATE: The fun is just beginning. Hoyer: After Default Crisis, Look Forward To Another Government Shutdown Fight. A TPM commenter says:
It’s important to remember what these “crises” really are… the only “crisis” is that there are Republicans in Congress. We are not having a problem funding our government. We are not having a problem paying our bills. We are having a problem because Republicans are erecting barriers to us doing these things.
UPDATE: The Debt Ceiling Debacle
“It is clear we must enter an era of austerity; to reduce the deficit through shared sacrifice,” reads the statement issued by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, as she endorsed Democratic Senate Leader Harry Reid’s plan to cut $2.7 trillion in spending over 10 years with no call for the wealthy to pay anything in taxes.
It has come to this. The proud liberal leader of House Democrats, excluded from many of the debt ceiling negotiations because she insisted on defending Social Security and Medicare, has now capitulated to the austerity caucus. And the Republicans still refuse to take yes for an answer.