Is Greece the new France? Or the new AIG?
On Friday, David Weigel noted that "Greece" had begun popping up in Republican speeches where "France" used to be: It's "the nation whose name Republicans invoke to make the case against Democratic policies."
But Greece is serving another purpose, too: This is a bailout Republicans can finally be against. TARP, after all, was proposed by the Bush administration and attracted a substantial number of Republican votes in Congress. Not so with Greece. Which is why you see House Republican Conference Vice Chairman Cathy McMorris Rodgers acidly saying, "The U.S. isn’t asking Europe to help bail out indebted U.S. states such as California," and joining with Rep. Mike Pence to send a letter to Geithner and Biden opposing a European bailout.
You might wonder why this is becoming an issue, given that the Obama administration isn't bailing Greece out. Well, in something of a bank-shot argument, Republicans are saying that it is. The International Monetary Fund is extending loan guarantees to help Greece. Like other countries that are part of the IMF, the U.S. pays dues to the organizations. Those dues will help fund the aid package. So there's your bailout.
It's a clever, albeit ultimately disastrous, stance. At this point, it's genuinely hard to imagine anything that would be as devastating for the global economy -- which includes us, sadly -- than if Europe drops off a cliff. It would freeze our financial sector, destroy demand for our exports, destabilize other countries we trade with, and generally throw us all back into a recession.