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Monday, May 29, 2023

Speaker McCarthy's secret weapon in the debt ceiling negotiations is paying off

There are powerful parallels in the 1961 movie “The Hustler,” the 1913 U.S. Open, and the current debt ceiling negotiation.

Let me explain.

In each case, there is a real question of which competitor is going to succumb to the pressure and break.

BIDEN VIEWS THE DEBT CEILING AS A STARING CONTEST WITH REPUBLICANS, NOT HIS DUTY AS PRESIDENT

In 1913, the two best golfers in the world, both British, came to the United States to prove the superiority of British golf over American golf. Harry Vardon was the first modern professional golfer and considered virtually unbeatable. They decided to prove their dominance at the U.S. Open at the Brookline Country Club in Massachusetts.

In an amazing, in some ways quintessentially American, story, a 20-year-old former caddie from the club emerged as a national hero. In an 18-hole playoff, he beat the greatest golfers in the world. He won $300. More importantly, he popularized golf in America and stunned the British golfing elite.

WHAT IS THE DEBT CEILING, AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR YOU?

When the House Republicans passed the “Limit, Save, Grow Act” on April 26, they shocked the Washington establishment — and especially President Biden. The Democrats had been counting on the narrow Republican majority in the House to make it impossible for Republicans to pass a debt ceiling bill without Democrats helping. Since they would only help pass a bill with no amendments, they thought they would get a so-called clean debt ceiling increase (see my newsletter on why a clean debt ceiling bill is actually the dirtiest debt deal).

Rep. Ro Khanna: Biden should pay the debts Video

Up until April 26, Democrats believed they held all the cards. They thought the House Republicans would fail. The elite media would blame the Republicans. In a panic the Republicans would cave and agree to whatever President Biden wanted to do on the debt ceiling.

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Having wasted 14 weeks, the Biden administration is finally facing reality and starting to negotiate. 

Having watched Speaker McCarthy live through a 15-vote marathon to become speaker, I am pretty sure who is going to stay cheerful and confident — and who is going to realize they just can’t win.

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