A Modest Proposal to Solve the Debt-Ceiling Crisis

One of the key dynamics of American politics over the last couple of years is the way Republican animosity toward Barack Obama is manifest in policy. Namely, whatever the president is for, they are passionately against. This applies even to formerly Republican ideas, like a cap-and-trade plan for reducing carbon emissions and an individual health-insurance mandate. This is showing up again in the debt-ceiling debate. For instance, Harry Reid's latest plan essentially gives the GOP everything it has asked for: huge budget cuts and no tax increases, in exchange for raising the ceiling. But they reject it out of hand, because it's a Democratic plan that Obama has spoken of favorably. As maddening as it is, this actually points our way out of the crisis.

Here's my solution: First, Reid announces that he is switching parties, becoming a Republican. Not only that, he's joining the Tea Party Caucus in the Senate. Before a leadership vote can be taken to determine a new Senate majority leader, he brings his debt-ceiling plan -- which is now a Republican Tea Party plan -- to the floor of the Senate. Just before debate begins, Obama holds a press conference to denounce the plan as an affront to progressive values. "If this passes," he says, "I will feel so humiliated that I may just replace Vice President Biden with Sarah Palin, then immediately resign. Not making any promises, but I might." Republicans decide that the Reid plan is pretty darn good after all. The plan is given quick votes in both houses, where it passes easily. Obama says that he still hates it (wink!), but he has no choice but to sign it. Once it's all over, Reid quietly rejoins the Democratic Party, and Obama says that the GOP's inspiring willingness to put country above party has convinced him that Washington really can solve problems, so he's not going to resign after all.

At the moment, that seems about as plausible as anything else. Got any better ideas?

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