If you’re a Republican elected official, you want two things from the debt-ceiling budget talks:
1) You want the talks to succeed – to produce a deal that keeps the government in business and averts a financial catastrophe.
2) You want to align yourself personally with those who (unsuccessfully!) oppose the deal. (Watch Bill Kristol on Fox for a preview of how it will be done.)
Here’s the obvious problem: Depending on how the House Democrats vote, it’s possible dozens of Republican members of Congress can get both their wishes. But if every Republican indulges wish #2, then they will fail to realize wish #1.
David Brooks called the debt-ceiling vote the “mother of all no-brainers.”
Unfortunately it is also the “mother of all collective action problems.”
The coming vote is one where almost every House Republican will want to be on the losing side. But if they all get their wish – then they win.
And of course … the country and the world loses, and loses horribly.