Sometimes you just get the screenshot at the right moment. (Forbes on YouTube)

As expected, Democrats in the Senate voted last night to temporarily raise the federal debt limit, heading off a default on the US debt that would have been catastrophic for the US economy and likely would have caused a worldwide economic crash. But before that vote could go forward, with only Democrats voting for the plan, 50 to 48, Senate Republicans had to follow through on Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's pledge that his party wouldn't block the vote.

Ted Cruz immediately filibustered by objecting to allowing the vote by unanimous consent, which meant that McConnell had to scrape up at least 10 votes just to fulfill the promise he'd made not to crash the economy yet. Eventually, 11 Republicans voted for cloture, which meant Democrats could go on to pass the completely routine measure with only their own votes.

But first, Cruz had to deliver a very pissy little speech about how terrible it was that McConnell refused to hold firm and force Democrats to use the far more complex process of reconciliation to raise the debt limit.

"Schumer was on the verge of surrender. And unfortunately, the deal that was put on the table was a lifeline for Schumer. And I disagree with that decision," Cruz said. "The strategy was exactly right. And for two months, Republicans were completely unified."

Again, the debt limit had to be raised to keep the country running. But what good is a pointless power play if you can't get your enemy to kneel before Zod, and perhaps downgrade the USA's credit rating?


Talking Points Memo founder and benevolent overlord Josh Marshall has some thoughts on Cruz and his party's weird cynical game, which we shall transcribe for you from this excellent Twitter thread, written last night as the 10 Republicans were in the process of being scrounged.

The current situation Cruz has created for his GOP colleagues captures the way that irresponsibility, the evasion of responsibility has become the centerpiece of GOP party ideology. The caucus is happy to allow Dems to do on their own what every GOP member knows MUST be done: pay the country's bills. They're willing to allow it if they don't have to touch the process. No fingerprints. But big preening dickwad Ted comes along and says I'm going to object. Now he's created a situation where 10 GOPs have to help overrule dickwad Ted.

But it's proving super hard to find 10 because voting for what's technically called "cloture" - forcing Ted to sit the fuck down - is in GOP logic basically just voting to raise the debt ceiling since it makes it possible for Democrats to vote to do it.

So preening Ted is making 10 colleagues walk the plank into the deep vast ocean of RINOdom. Now remember, all 100 senators know the debt ceiling must be raised. The entire thing is an exercise in not taking responsibility for what you know has to happen.

But here in the guise of preening dickwad Ted Cruz it's the snake of GOP preening recklessness eating itself.

And there's your Party of Reagan today: absolutely committed to blocking even the most normal functions of government for the sake of an illusion of winning some partisan point. And of course we remember how well that worked for Cruz in 2013 when he shut down the government to defund Obamacare. Spoiler: It didn't work at all, but a lot of government workers had their income delayed, and people needing government services were shit out of luck, and essential workers worked with no pay, so it was a big success for dickwad Ted Cruz, you bet.

Following the vote, there was another outbreak of incivility, as Majority Leader Chuck Schumer not only failed to apologize to Cruz for not letting the US default on its debt, but had the temerity to castigate Republicans for playing chicken with the economy, even though it was all Schumer's fault in the first place because he insisted on being a Democrat and doing very basic governing.

Here is Schumer being an absolute monster of ungraciousness following the vote on cloture. Also, Joe Manchin put his hands over his face at Schumer's unspeakably partisan venom and ungentlemanliciousness.

youtu.be

Schumer accused Republicans of playing a

dangerous and risky partisan game, and I am glad that their brinksmanship did not work. [...] For the good of America's families, for the good of our economy, Republicans must recognize in the future that they should approach fixing the debt limit in a bipartisan way.

He even said that Republicans should do the right thing and agree to a long-term debt ceiling extension when the temporary extension ends, around December 3, instead of another round of "risky drama." He also thanked his Democratic colleagues for their work to "pull our country back from the cliff's edge that Republicans tried to push us over."

Weirdly, Chuck Schumer, not Ted Cruz, is the guy getting grief for being a monstrous partisan. Imagine that! Politico reports that following the speech, some Republicans who had voted to break the filibuster, like John Thune (R-South Dakota) and Susan Collins (R-Maine), rebuked Schumer for not being sufficiently gracious, considering how nice they'd been in allowing Democrats to save the economy from them. For that matter, Mitt Romney (R-Utah) also upbraided Schumer for being so partisan, although Romney had actually voted to continue the filibuster.

Lindsey Graham, however, told Politico those Republicans were just bad sports: "Listen, they kicked our ass and we have no one to blame but ourselves."

Again: There is something deeply fucked up that Republicans are sore and mad at their failure to drive the country off a cliff.

Also, this fun observation about Schumer: "a source who knows him well said, "He's not gracious, he's from Brooklyn!"

[AP / Dallas Morning News (requires newsletter signup) / Josh Marshall on Twitter / Politico]

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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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