Friday, July 29, 2011

A Messy Conspiracy Theory Thriller

I hate conspiracy theories.  See this reply on a Madville Times comment thread.  My distaste for theories like about Freemasons or the Illuminati notwithstanding,  I think we may be living in the middle of a dangerous conspiracy.

Earlier today, David Frum tweeted.
Why doesn't new Boehner bill just require Obama to resign in favor of a Republican before 2nd debt ceiling increase? Tidier.
Frum is both sardonic and correct.  Too much of this seems to be an effort to defeat Obama by manufacturing a constitutional crisis.  In fact, House Republicans be lining up a second crisis if the debt ceiling debacle fails to produce their desired result because the 14th Amendment will allow Obama to raise the debt ceiling without congressional approval.

In the Washington Monthly, Paul Glastris reports
There is more and more talk, especially among House Democrats, that if no compromise can be reached on the debt ceiling by August 2nd, Obama should assert his power under the 14th Amendment to raise the ceiling himself by executive order. Bill Clinton helped pave the way for this resurgent interest in the “constitutional option” by saying, in an interview with Joe Conason last week, that if he were in Obama’s shoes he’d do so “without hesitation.
Philosopher Ronald Dworkin writes in the New York Review of Books
Some Republicans have declared that if the president does accept the constitutional argument, and acts without their consent, they will try to impeach him. That would take only a majority of the House, which the Republicans control. Impeachment would be a tragedy because, even though the Democratic Senate would certainly refuse to convict, the process would waste a huge amount of the president’s time at a crucial and difficult moment of our history. But surely even the Tea Party representatives can understand that they would make fools of themselves by declaring that a president is guilty of “a high crime or misdemeanor” whenever he interprets the Constitution in a way they believe wrong, particularly when a substantial number of the nation’s lawyers agree with him.
I'm less sanguine than Dworkin about what the Tea Party will "understand."  In short, I expect either default or impeachment.  The biggest conspiracy may be that Tea Partiers are secretly enjoying the chaos they are creating. 

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