Republican Treasury secretary warns against Republican debt-ceiling terrorism

As Congress prepares to return and global markets could crash if the debt-ceiling extension is not passed, Paul O'Neill, former Treasury secretary during the Bush administration, compared congressional Republicans who oppose the debt-ceiling extension to al Qaeda terrorists. O'Neill's warning was reported in an excellent story in The Hill.

Two points. First, I do not make the comparison myself. I am merely quoting a Republican Treasury secretary warning Republicans. Second, if the debt ceiling is not raised, I believe it could cause a global market crash, and would be blamed, correctly, on Republicans who refuse to compromise in good faith with the president and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).

Republicans of conscience and common sense should think long and hard about why a senior Republican Cabinet member would compare them to terrorists. There is an extremism in some Republican circles, a hostility to the very notion of honorable compromise, a demeaning and derisive attitude toward any political opponents and the very idea of honorable compromise that is so essential to making Congress work effectively.

Reid is a good and honorable man who believes in the Congress of one of its greatest leaders ever, Henry Clay. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is a good and honorable man who understands the importance of raising the debt ceiling, the catastrophic damage to America if it is not extended. Boehner, like Reid, believes in the legislative process and the art of fair compromise.

Republicans who take extreme positions and would defeat the debt-ceiling extension would be well-advised to reflect on the fact that it was not me, but a Republican Treasury secretary, who compared them to al Qaeda terrorists.

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