Let's lead off with a hearty fuck-you to Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy:
"Any society that relies on nine unelected judges to resolve the most serious issues of the day is not a functioning democracy," Kennedy said Thursday at the University of Pennsylvania.
"I just don't think that a democracy is responsible if it doesn't have a political, rational, respectful, decent discourse so it can solve these problems before they come to the court."
Then maybe you shouldn't go out of your way to fish for cases to grant cert. to cases that would enable you and your buddies to overturn the resolutions that the elected branches of government have already arrived at, from campaign finance and voting rights to gun control.
Kevin Drum put it nicely: "Anthony Kennedy Denounces Anthony Kennedy's Supreme Court Jurisprudence."
Second up, House Speaker John Boehner:
"I don't want the United States to default on its debt," he said. "But I'm not going to raise the debt limit without a serious conversation about dealing with problems that are driving the debt up. It would be irresponsible of me to do this."
OK, so it would be irresponsible to raise the debt limit without having this 'serious conversation.' And it would be irresponsible to make the U.S. default on its debt.
Which one would be more irresponsible? In our world, making the U.S. default on its debt would be far more irresponsible. But in the world where Boehner and his Tea Party friends reside, apparently that choice is the less irresponsible of the two. Even though this hostage negotiation wasn't even about our (diminishing!) budgetary problems until just a few days ago. (Remember when it was all about Obamacare? That's so last week.)
So John Boehner is willing to blow up the country for...whatever he thinks he can get this week.
Can't we just give each House Republican a suitcase with $10 million and a plane ticket to some country without an extradition treaty with the U.S.?
Finally, the Obama Administration. No quotes, but they've been routinely ridiculing the notion that they have options to dispense with the debt ceiling crisis.
With the shutdown, the Administration really doesn't have much in the way of options. If Congress doesn't appropriate money, the Administration can't spend it. There may be some minor choices they could have made differently (I'd still like a coherent explanation of why they decided to basically shut down the Mall) but that's the level of discretion they had.
The debt ceiling is different, though. Multiple options have been proposed that at least arguably resolve the matter. There's the Fourteenth Amendment argument (though that may be limited to paying interest on government debt and paying off the instruments of the debt as they mature), there's the conflict-of-laws argument (that the debt ceiling will force Obama into breaking a law, and the only question is which one, so he gets to choose, so he might as well choose to violate the debt ceiling), and of course there's the trillion-dollar platinum coin, whose main problem seems to be that it sounds silly. (Well, it does. But if seriousness puts us in a crisis, and silliness extricates us from it, I'm all for silliness.)
Treasury keeps saying that the Fed won't accept such a coin, though the Fed itself has been silent on the topic. But maybe rather than heaping ridicule on all the possible options, the Administration should be making the case for all of them.
Because the debt ceiling crisis is one that should be avoided by any legitimate means. If you have an opportunity to rescue the hostages in a hostage situation without anyone getting killed, then you do it. It's not about whether the Administration should throw John Boehner a lifeline; it's about the full faith and credit of the United States of America, and about the not fully known but probably severe consequences of hitting the debt limit.
And if the Administration has an 'out' in its back pocket, there's no reason to keep that fact hidden. There's no reason to be part of threatening the nation with a major crisis if there's really not going to be one. Just make arguments for all the Administration options, and then if Congress fails to raise the debt limit in time, the only question would be which method or rationale the President would use to dispense with the debt ceiling.
[And just for the record, I'm not equating both sides here. The GOP is the hostage taker. This situation is entirely of their making. They are the bad guys, trying to achieve a bad purpose - trying to deny to tens of millions of Americans the opportunity to buy affordable health insurance. The Administration, by comparison, is merely failing to take advantage of its options to rescue the hostages. It makes me bang my head against the wall, but the main thing is there shouldn't be any hostage-taking in the first place.]