That seems to be the question the media does not want to ask. Instead, it all is about whether Republicans have taken a government shut down, or at least a refusal to lift the debt ceiling, off the table.
This meme has it backwards.
The Republicans in the House will pass a budget which extends the current marginal tax rates and contains budget cuts, and will vote to lift the debt ceiling in conjunction with such budget. The Republicans in the Senate will vote for such legislation.
It will be up to Democrats in the Senate to reject the legislation which would prevent a shut down of government or a default.
And if, by some long-shot, the measures made their way through the Senate, it would be up to Obama to veto the legislation.
There will be no Republican decision to shut the government or default on debt. It will be a Democratic Party decision, taken out of ideological commitment to raising taxes and refusing to rein in spending.
Update: Thanks to Instapundit for the link. I think Glenn had it right this weekend that Republicans need to frame the issues so as to provide clarity. The government “shut down” issue is a good example. Republicans need to be clear that Republicans are not shutting down anything; rather, it is the Democrats who are holding the nation hostage to tax increases.
Democrats are playing a game of chicken with the budget and debt, but now that Repubicans have the House, Repubicans get to frame the debate — if they do it right. The mainstream media will accept the Democratic narrative, so clarity is key.
And, Jim DeMint seemed to signal what I am saying (emphasis mine):
Sen. Jim DeMint, South Carolina Republican, was asked Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press” whether he would vote to raise the debt ceiling, and said, “No, I won’t.”
“Not unless this debt ceiling is combined with some path to balancing our budget, returning to 2008 spending levels, repealing Obamacare. We have got to demonstrate that we have the resolve to cut spending … we cannot allow that to go through the Congress without showing the American people that we are going to balance the budget, and we’re not going to continue to raise the debt in America,” he said.
I’m not sure how John Boehner’s decision to hold a stand-alone up or down vote on the debt ceiling fits into this narrative.