No Matter What Happens, Biden and the Democrats Already Lost on the Debt Ceiling

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

It has become incredibly amusing to watch Democrats and the press freak out as the debt ceiling negotiations continue. The longer things play out, the more Democrats will have to lose when the final negotiations are done, and they are very aware of that fact.


The moment Joe Biden agreed to meet with Kevin McCarthy, the Democrats knew they had lost. Biden comes from a time where “We’ve got to do something” means actually doing something and not just grandstanding on it, and the Democrats of today know it. They just don’t want to get into the habit of tying cuts to the debt ceiling increase, and Biden giving in and negotiating does just that.

What’s more, the American public isn’t taking the Democrats’ side in thinking the Republicans are being too extreme. A poll from the Washington Post and ABC News shows that Americans are fairly evenly split, with Democrats only holding a slight advantage on the debt ceiling topic.

The Democrats’ hopes had been to portray the Republicans as extreme. As one Biden adviser told POLITICO just after the midterm elections, they wanted people to believe that “the gun is in Republicans’ hands” when it came to the economy. That’s why they didn’t do anything about the debt ceiling during the lame-duck session prior to the next Congress getting sworn in. But now, inasmuch as anyone is holding a gun to the economy, the American people are split on whether Democrats or Republicans should get the blame, or if they should just blame both sides.

The Democrats and the media have vastly underestimated the Republican caucus in the House. To them, it’s always been about finding people who would hold out against the “extreme MAGA Republicans” driving the caucus, but they fail to understand that, for the first time in a very long time, the Republicans are driving the narrative, as noted by Erick Erickson this morning.


Remarkably, a party that controls just the United States House of Representatives is able to drive the conversation in America today. I realize the GOP controls a lot of states too, but that control is anathema to the press and dismissed by so much of the political establishment that views Washington as the only relevant power center.

Even The New Republic admits that the Democrats have already lost.

One need not have hindsight to see the folly here, which many noted at the time. But as the debt limit hurtles closer—the United States could default in less than two weeks—it looks more and more like a catastrophic miscalculation.


The Democrats knew the Republicans would do this, which is why Biden insisted for months that he would not negotiate over the debt ceiling. And yet here he is today, very much negotiating over the debt ceiling.

And in the Wall Street Journal this morning…

President Joe Biden has no good options in Washington’s fight over raising the debt limit.

The U.S. could be unable to pay all of its bills as soon as June 1 if Biden and congressional Republicans can’t reach a deal—and every path forward carries political risks for the president.

A government default could tip the country into recession and potentially unleash global financial chaos as Biden seeks re-election. Untried methods to pay the nation’s bills without Congress acting could also carry economic costs—and could require Biden to make painful political choices about who gets paid first.


You have multiple headlines now that feature the same idea: That Biden has already lost. Perhaps that’s why he’s signaling more and more that he’ll cut a deal. But this goes back to what I said earlier: The Democrats and the press have really underestimated Republicans here.

They think that Republicans will wise up and stop being extreme out of fear of being called “extreme.” However, it seems that what’s really happening is that Republicans have started to realize they’re going to be called “extreme” no matter what, so why not pick these fights and start getting in good with their base again? The House has already drifted further to the right as an institution, and the GOP as a whole seems to be doing the same.

Which I’m all for. It’s nice to have the supposedly conservative party being conservative these days. Hopefully, they won’t snatch defeat from the jaws of victory (as much).


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