Good luck answering this question. While House Speaker John Boehner wrestles with the math of a debt deal and dominates headlines, his party’s presidential wannabes stick to the sidelines with platitudes.
Ron Paul says he hasn’t seen “enough cuts” in any of the plans to justify voting to lift the debt ceiling. No idea how much is enough for him.
Newt Gingrich and Tim Pawlenty join those candidates who are sticking to the safe ground of railing against any tax increases in a debt deal. “The United States federal government is not under-taxed,” Pawlenty says. “It spends too darn much.”
Michele Bachmann says she will vote against a debt-ceiling hike no matter what because she doesn’t even believe warnings of catastrophe if the government defaults.
Mitt Romney is the quiet one of the bunch, aside from attacking Obama for spending too much. His spokesman says the supposed frontrunner won’t take a specific stand on the various debt plans out of fear that it would “shake the confidence of the financial industry.” When Romney suppposedly broke his silence, he blew past the current debt debate and endorsed a balanced budget amendment.
Republican candidates enjoy the luxury of gearing their pitches to Tea Party conservatives, as none of them bear any responsibility for negotiating a deal. Only Romney seems to be thinking long term toward appealing to independents in a general election – by saying as little as possible.
How President Obama’s image emerges from this fiasco will be surely be a contributing factor to his reelection chances, so the wait-and-see stance before endorsing any specific proposals makes political sense for the GOP hopefuls.
But despite their bluster, if any of them were in the Oval Office today would they really risk being the first president to default? I’d even bet against a President Bachmann going there (OK, I wouldn’t bet much).