The last real President America had, Bill Clinton, opined he would use an obscure clause in the Civil War-era 14th Amendment to raise the debt ceiling unilaterally, and let everyone rot.
Clinton said he would invoke the 14th Amendment "without hesitation," and "force the courts to stop me."
"I have talked to my lawyers," said a more timid President Barack Obama, peeling himself off the asphalt from the last time he'd flopped to the ground and let himself be steamrolled during debt hike negotiations. "They are not persuaded that that is a winning argument."
Republican and Democratic lawmakers Sunday retired to their respective corners and busied about developing separate plans to raise the ceiling and slash federal spending. Everyone had given up on trying to raise revenue, because that would have been the most sensible solution to the nation's revenue crisis, and no one wanted to do anything that anyone might construe as sensible.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), had spent the whole weekend trying to placate their Republican counterparts, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) and House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), because Boehner had discovered the President was nothing but a poo-poo head who only wanted to slash spending and save the country, making him impossible to talk with. Boehner then discovered his fellow lawmakers were also poo-poo heads who only wanted to slash spending and save the country, making them impossible to talk with as well.
With the talks collapsed, Reid began work on drafting a plan to slash $2.5 trillion off the budget without touching entitlements, and raise the debt ceiling by that amount.
Boehner and Republicans eagerly moved further to the right, gleefully announcing they were going to push their already-disgraced Cud, Cats, and Valance scam, as it had a catchy title that would likely fool poor and ignorant folks into believing the GOP cared about them.
Cud, Cats, and Valance would force all senior citizens to eat cattle regurgitants, compel everyone to serenade Republican overlords Rupert Murdoch, Grover Norquist and the Koch brothers with tunes from Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals, and make everyone continuously change Wendi Murdoch's drapes and curtains at her whim. Actually, the scheme was much more destructive than that, as it would dismantle Medicare after the manner of Paul Ryan's couponization scam, and plunder Social Security on behalf of Wall Street fat cats.
The deepening intransigence of Republicans on raising the debt ceiling coincided with the opening of US Justice Department probes into the toxic quagmire of Murdoch's News Corporation.
Republicans who had previously been content to obstruct the government and extract as many tax breaks as they could for their liege lords, suddenly found themselves in a desperate struggle for survival thanks to the News Corp phone-hacking scandal exploding in England.
Apparently, the naked corruption and brazen racketeering infesting every corner of the Republican Party was so endemic, Republican leaders were horrified their coven would be demolished under even the earliest stages of the most cursory investigation. Destroying the government became critical to saving themselves.
Making the 14th Amendment all the more appropriate.
"You're not supposed to hold the validity of the public debt hostage to achieve political ends," said Jack Balkin, a Yale law professor."The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payments of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."
As to Obama's concern the courts would nix his invoking the 14th Amendment, Harvard law professor Laurence Tribe said, "This is not a circumstance in which courts have any plausible point of entry."
"This is largely a political question," explained Prof. Balkin. "It is unlikely courts would decide these questions."
Section 4 of the 14th Amendment was written to make sure Union debts would get paid and Confederate ones wouldn't even if the Rebels somehow seized power and tried to do the opposite. Sanford Levinson of the University of Texas said,"Nobody would argue that Section 4 is clear in its meaning, other than at the time everyone though that the South, if they ever got back in control, would not pay Civil War debt."
Although the 14th Amendment was obviously broadly written to apply in all sorts of circumstances, in fact, the present situation was the exact one for which the Amendment was originally written. Today's Republican Party, with its strongholds in the Red States of the South and their Plains and Mountain West possessions, is exactly the same Confederate entity under a different name.
The Republican Party's allegiance may be pledged to numerous lords, but none are the United States of America. They are the liege men and women of oil moguls, the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch and Grover Norquist, but they are not pledged to United States of America. They may be Neo-Confederates, Ku Klux Klansmen, anti-American militias, and theocratist Evangelical supremacists, but they have no allegiance to the United States of America.
Norquist, for one, has emphatically pronounced his supremacy over the United States. When Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) dared to suggest he was an American first and Norquist's vassal second, Norquist's vengeance was swift and ruthless.
Bristling under Norquist's pledge to ruthlessly shield transnational plutocrats like Murdoch from taxation, Coburn complained, "Which pledge is more important? The pledge to uphold your oath to the Constitution of the United States, or a pledge from a special interest group who claims to speak for all American conservatives, when, in fact, they don't?"
"The pledge that Tom Coburn signed was to the Citizens of Oklahoma," Norquist elevated himself to the royal personification an entire nation. Norquist presumed to impose his whim upon hundreds of millions of Americans who had no wish to let Murdoch and the Kochs plunder the nation and accumulate their vast untaxed horde. Despite Norquist's posturing, to deal with debt, 72% of Americans want Norquist's plutocrats to pay their share in taxes.
Norquist's treachery had already enabled 20% of Americans to accumulate 84% of the nation's wealth.
By practice and custom, Elizabeth II of England speaks in the royal plural, but Norquist and Kochs' and Murdoch's Tea Party hireling thugs were simply larcenous usurpers. Tea Party Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) shamelessly demanded $700 million for her cronies to build a bridge to nowhere through the St. Croix National Scenic Riverway, while she schemed to pauper the elderly and abandon disabled veterans. Tea Party Rep. Allen West (R-FL) got $21 million for his cronies to build luxury expansions at vacation airport Ft. Lauderdale-Hollywood International, while he schemed to starve school children and discard disabled poor.
Republicans who plunder and ransom America are non-state actors in a state of rebellion against the United States. George W. Bush's Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neill recognized them as, "a version of Al Qaeda terrorists."
Certainly the 14th Amendment demanded to be invoked in the very instance for which it was written: to stop Rebel traitors and terrorists leveraging the full faith and credit of the United States of America.