Having totally collapsed on deficit reductions in fiscal cliff non-negotiations (agreeing to a mere $12 billion in cuts down from an Obama offer of $600 billion), Republicans are already offering signs they will once again wave the white flag when it comes to the alleged battle over the debt ceiling.

Reuters reports Bigger fights loom after “fiscal cliff” deal.

President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans looked ahead on Wednesday toward the next round of even bigger budget fights after reaching a hard-fought “fiscal cliff” deal that narrowly averted potentially devastating tax hikes and spending cuts.

Retreat, Retreat, Then Surrender

Let’s stop right there for a second. What “hard fight” was there?

It certainly took a lot of time to reach a deal, but there never was much of a fight. Every day Republicans offered more and more concessions until deficit reductions were whittled down to a mere $12 billion or so from a starting point of $600 billion.

Senate Republicans immediately waved the white flag of surrender as only 5 Republicans voted against the deal. Please see Obama Deal Adds $3.97 Trillion to Deficit Over 10 Years; Only 5 Republicans Voted Against; White-Flag Surrender for details.

This was a pathetic case of retreat, retreat, then surrender, with every retreat making the president more confident he would get his way.

Reuters continues …

[The fiscal cliff agreement] set up political showdowns over the next two months on spending cuts and on raising the nation’s limit on borrowing. Republicans, angry the deal did little to curb the federal deficit, promised to use the debt ceiling debate to win deep spending cuts next time.

“Our opportunity here is on the debt ceiling,” Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania said on MSNBC, adding Republicans would have the political leverage against Obama in that debate. “We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown, which is what that could mean.”

Opportunity to Surrender Again

There is no opportunity here. Read the paragraph carefully to see if you can spot the crucial words.

In case you missed it, the crucial word is “temporary“. More specifically the crucial phrase is “willing to tolerate a temporary, partial government shutdown, which is what that could mean“.

The word “temporary” is pathetic enough. But Toomey goes even further, adding the word “partial“.

Temporary, Partial, Non-Threats

Who is supposed to fear a “partial, temporary” shutdown? Anyone?

Sadly, Republicans are already signaling they are prepared for more temporary threats coupled with more permanent can-kicking exercises.

The wimpy language bantered about by Republicans before debt ceiling debate even begins suggests the safe thing to do is prepare for more retreats and more white flags.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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