Apparently, the National Review’s Editors Plan to Swear Off Flying. And Eating Farm Products. And Want to Force the Rest of Us To, Too.

Today, in another step forward, the National Review calls on Republicans to take the threat of default off the table:

Republicans should recognize that the prospect of default is the Democrats’ chief weapon in their campaign of avoidance. That prospect is not a source of Republican leverage in the debt-ceiling fight; it is the primary source of the Democrats’ leverage. It is a way to distract the press and the public from the reality of our fiscal crisis.

The Democrats’ strategy offers Republicans an opportunity. Since the Democrats insist that the prospect of default is the reason they will not negotiate about spending restraint, Republicans should begin the debt-ceiling fight by permanently eliminating that prospect, turning the debt-ceiling debate into an argument about future spending rather than past borrowing.

The House should pass a bill to redefine the debt limit so that it constrains primary spending but not debt service. Under this reform, a Treasury that had hit the statutory borrowing limit could continue to borrow what it needed exclusively for paying interest on the national debt and to roll over existing debt obligations, but it could not borrow for any other government spending until the limit had been increased. This would take default entirely off the table.

The policy suggestion here is a bit puzzling: As one Dem joked to me, is the idea that the GOP will only continue to threaten to prevent Congress from paying out things like Social Security and veterans’ benefits, but not interest payments? That aside, the core point here is that National Review is admitting that the threat of default gives the leverage not to Republicans, but to Democrats.

The Morning Plum: Conservatives surrendering in debt ceiling fight?, Greg Sargent, Washington Post, this morning

Ah. It’s official: The National Review’s editors do not depend on Social Security and Medicare to survive or keep them from bankruptcy.  Nor do they have an elderly parent in a nursing home who, since exhausting his or her financial reserves, remain cared for there by dint of Medicaid. Which is nice for them.

And most of them live in the Northeast, not in Arizona, California, New Mexico, or Texas, so, much as they hate illegal immigration from Mexico, it doesn’t really impact their lives.  Their homes, unlike the Arizona ranchers who elect the state legislators who enact harsh anti-illegal-immigrant laws, their own property, including their winter homes, are probably secured by private guards.

But they probably do fly.  Maybe in their employer’s or their friends’ corporate jets rather than in commercial airliners.  But fly, nonetheless.  They also probably eat produce, poultry, meat and dairy products inspected by–OMG–a federal agency; specifically, the Department of Agriculture.  

So it didn’t occur to them that, by publishing that editorial in which they acknowledge that the Republicans are losing the PR fight on the debt ceiling, and in which they advised the Republicans nonetheless to issue a revised ransom note removing only bond interest payments and already-incurred contractual debts as hostages and leaving the rest with guns to their heads–sorry, Dana Milbank, but that analogy is appropriate even after Sandy Hook, and is utterly irrelevant to Sandy Hook (what a weird claim by Milbank in a thoroughly off-kilter op-ed)–they’re effectively urging the Repubs to commit political suicide.

I say, go for it, Repubs!  Go for it.

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