(WASHINGTON POST)

By Greg Sargent

Obama and Dems have vowed not to negotiate with the GOP over the debt ceiling. This morning, I asked what “not negotiating” would look like in the real world, and whether it’s even possible. But another question may be even more relevant: Do Republicans really have the leverage in the debt ceiling fight they think they have?

Some Republicans are now coming out and acknowledging that the GOP may not be in a strong position in the debt ceiling battle, after all. Here’s Newt Gingrich, on Morning Joe today, telling Republicans that a debt ceiling fight is a “loser” for them:

“They’ve got to find, in the House, a totally new strategy. Everybody’s now talking about, ‘Oh, here comes the debt ceiling.’ I think that’s, frankly, a dead loser. Because in the end, you know it’s gonna happen. The whole national financial system is going to come in to Washington and on television, and say: ‘Oh my God, this will be a gigantic heart attack, the entire economy of the world will collapse. You guys will be held responsible.’ And they’ll cave.”

And here’s the Wall Street Journal editorial page, warning against it in similar terms:

Mr. Obama will say Republicans are risking national default and recession, most of Wall Street will echo him, and the Treasury will maneuver to apply maximum political pressure — for example, by claiming it can’t pay Social Security benefits. We’ll support efforts to cut spending and reform entitlements, but the political result will be far worse if Republicans start this fight only to cave in the end. You can’t take a hostage you aren’t prepared to shoot.

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