Via Talking Points Memo.
In what his campaign billed as his “closing argument,” Mitt Romney warned Americans that a second term for President Obama would have apocalyptic consequences for the economy in part because his own party would force a debt ceiling disaster.
“Unless we change course, we may well be looking at another recession,” Romney told a crowd in West Allis, Wisconsin.
This is one heck of a closing argument. Steve Benen explains:
A couple of months ago, Ramesh Ponnuru made a curious case in support of Mitt Romney. As Ponnuru argued, congressional Republicans “aren’t going to change,” they’re not going to compromise, and they’ll continue to make the nation ungovernable if President Obama wins. It’s better, he said, to have Romney win so Washington can function under “unified Republican government.”
In other words, GOP policymakers will simply never work constructively or cooperatively with Democrats, so if you want to avoid “gridlock,” voters have no choice but to let Republicans control everything.
…The argument is just astounding. Inflexible Republicans, allergic to compromise and obsessed with obstructionism, would rather destroy the government than work cooperatively with Democrats, ergo, don’t elect Democrats. The hostage takers of American politics aren’t fooling around, so it’s better for everyone if they get their ransom.
We already know they are willing and able to crash the economy and try to blame Democrats. But how many times can you do that and get away with it?
UPDATE: Paul Krugman: The Blackmail Caucus: GOP
The starting point for many “vote for Romney or else” statements is the notion that a re-elected Obama wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything in his second term. What this misses is the fact that he has already accomplished a great deal, in the form of health reform and financial reform — reforms that will go into effect if, and only if, he is re-elected.
But would Obama be able to negotiate a Grand Bargain on the budget? Probably not — but so what? America isn’t facing any kind of short-run fiscal crisis, except in the fevered imagination of a few Beltway insiders. If you’re worried about the long-run imbalance between spending and revenue, well, that’s an issue that will have to be resolved eventually but not right away.
Furthermore, I’d argue that any alleged Grand Bargain would be worthless as long as the GOP remained as extreme as it is, because the next Republican president, following the lead of George W. Bush, would just squander the gains on tax cuts and unfunded wars.
Before the Supreme Court’s 5-4 Citizens United decision, it would have been illegal for a boss to tell an employee that “their job and their future” was on the ballot on Election Day. But the court now considers such electoral pressure an expression of free speech.
UPDATE: Steve Benen: The normalization of extortion politics
This is crazy. It would reward Republicans for their radicalism — which in turn only encourages more radicalism — and set a precedent for all future congressional caucuses: if you really want to get your way, be irrational, inflexible, and dangerous, threatening to do lasting damage to the country unless your unconditional demands are met.
Maybe if we pay the reckless hostage takers, they’ll be nice to us and stop taking hostages in the future? Is this what American politics has come to the 21st century?
For Romney to subtly articulate this argument out loud is breathtaking. For the political world to simply accept it at face value, as if this is routine, is depressing.