Ralph Benko

Ah August. Gideon’s Law is “No man’s life, liberty or property are safe while the Legislature is in session.” (It’s named after the lawyer, politico, and newspaperman who coined it, Gideon J. Tucker.) This law still is at least as true as it originally was in 1866. August, and with it a Congressional recess, now is upon us. So we can, for a few weeks, let down our guard and open a cold one.

When next September Congress returns, refreshed, all Hell will (appear to) break loose. There are only 9 legislative days in September, with the end of the fiscal year looming.   So … expect it to begin with a portentous swell and staccato rhythm. Cue the 1812 Overture. Forewarned is forearmed so…. consider this column your Secret Decoder Ring for what’s actually going to happen.

Politics, that’s what. There are two political theaters (theaters in both senses of the word) slated for this Fall. One is the debt ceiling fight. The other is repealing Obamacare. The debt ceiling fight will be front and center.

Except… the debt ceiling fight is not really about the debt ceiling.

It’s about the Democrats’ attempt to make the Republicans look bad enough that the Democrats can regain control of the House in 2014. (Statistically, there is little chance of this. But the dreamers at the top of the Democratic Party have a special relationship with reality.)

And the fight over repealing Obamacare is only secondarily about repealing Obamacare.

It’s about the Republicans attempt to wrap that albatross around the Democrats’ necks, making them look bad enough that the Republicans can take control of the Senate in 2014. (The GOP actually has a pretty good chance at this…better even then appeared earlier. Unless, that is, it fumbles the opportunity by failing to execute the elegant strategy mapped out by the shrewd Mitch McConnell. With the GOP’s chronic ineptitude a fumble cannot be ruled out.)

The action, this Fall, is all about prepositioning for the 2014 Hill races. It is hardly at all about “governing” in the conventional meaning of that word. Here’s the largest dose of reality that the FDA reluctantly will allow this columnist to administer:


Ralph Benko

Ralph Benko, author of The Websters’ Dictionary: How to use the Web to transform the world. He serves as an advisor to and editor of the Lehrman Institute's thegoldstandardnow.org and senior advisor to the American Principles Project.
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