This past Monday afternoon, I proposed HERE what I called the Applesauce Solution to the nation’s protracted stalemate over raising the debt ceiling.
I conceded that the idea wasn’t original with me but might benefit from my considerable political influence (if I say so myself, and I do).
My proposal was quite simple: President “Obama should invoke the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, ignore the debt ceiling and continue to service the national debt — thereby sparing the global economy the disaster that well could result from default.
“Then, Obama should dare the Republicans to take him to court over the matter.”
Well, several hours after I posted my solution, President Obama addressed the nation — and completely ignored my advice, which, of course, was a great disappointment to me and to the vast legions who saw the wisdom in my suggestion.
But hope springs eternal (to coin a phrase). Eugene Robinson of The Washington Post is out with a COLUMN this morning in which he suggests that the Applesauce Solution, or something akin to it, might yet be the only option available to Obama if some legislative agreement is not soon reached:
Many legal scholars believe Obama could cite the 14th Amendment and assert that it requires him to make sure the nation’s credit is never “questioned,” which would obviously be the case in a default. Another theory holds that the president has the implicit power to take extraordinary measures in the face of impending national crisis. This isn’t in the same league as Abraham Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus as the nation careened into civil war. But one could argue that the principle is the same.
Who knows how the courts — ultimately, the U.S. Supreme Court — would react? With outrage? With deference toward presidential power? With traditional reluctance to intervene in political disputes between the two elected branches of government? It would matter, eventually. But while legal briefs were being prepared and arguments honed, Obama would have raised the debt ceiling on his own authority — and the crisis would have been averted.
UPDATE: And then there’s THIS EDITORIAL in the Philadelphia Daily News:
It’s too late now for either a “grand bargain” or a small deal. Congress should come up with a “clean bill” to raise the debt ceiling. If not, Obama should heed President Bill Clinton’s advice and invoke the 14th Amendment to raise it on his own. Give them a call and tell them so.
UPDATE II: According to THIS, at least a few House Democrats are embracing the Applesauce Solution — and even a few right-wing legal scholars say Obama is well within his constitutional rights to invoke the 14th Amendment.