Friday, April 15, 2011

Has the GOP Leadership Betrayed The Base?

Some people think so...
I don't think the corrupt GOP leadership understands that they were given one chance to get it right...and they've blown it. We The People will remember in 2012 what you've done to our country, our party and those principles you claimed to hold dear. We will elect a new slate and you'll be kicked to the curb.
I don't want to pick on Rich Vail, and Lord knows that he's not the only one thinking this way, but I think that's an incredibly short-sighted and over-the-top reaction.

I've made it quite clear that I wasn't impressed by the deal, and that hasn't changed. But again, it's vitally important to remember where we are, and what the context is. The following points are all important.
  • The Republicans control the House of Representatives and need no Democratic votes in the House.
  • The Republicans do not control the Senate - the Democrats do. In order for a bill to pass the legislature, it needs to be agreed to by at least five Democratic Senators, and it needs to be brought to the floor by Harry Reid.
  • The Republicans do not control the White House. If President Obama won't sign something, it doesn't become law.
  • The debt problem wasn't built overnight, and it can't be solved overnight.
  • The deficit in this year's spending is so large that the difference between $3.8 billion in cuts, $38.5 billion in cuts and $385 billion in cuts is essentially irrelevant to the country's long-term fiscal condition.
  • The real debt problem, the "ticking time bomb," is entitlements.
  • It is quite clear, at this point that entitlements are never going to be "fixed" by Congressional Democrats (who don't even believe that they are a problem.)
  • It is quite clear that, absent a super-majority in both houses to override a Presidential veto, entitlements are never going to be seriously addressed with this President in the White House.
  • A significant majority of voters still get their information from, or are influence in their opinions by, the mainstream media.
  • The mainstream media is going to portray any shutdown as a dire situation for the country, and focus on any hard-luck, bad news stories that result.
  • The mainstream media is going to blame the Republicans for any shutdown.
I don't believe that there's anything controversial on that list. So the Republicans who were "swept into office" by the Tea Party last November, have now been in control of one house of Congress for three months. They're fighting for budget discipline and entitlement reform against a hostile Senate, a hostile President and a hostile media. The President and the media would each love to see a replay of 1995, when the Government shutdown and the Republicans were blamed, significantly strengthening Bill Clinton's re-election bid.

Rich says that "we were promised $100B in cuts on THIS YEARS budget, what we got? Less than 3.5% of that figure." I don't know exactly what "promise" he's talking about, but I know that the $100 billion figure was bandied about. And I'm not positive that $352 million is the best assessment for the actual cuts that the deal included. But lets assume, for the sake of argument, that he's right on all of that. So we were promised $100 billion and got $352 million. My reaction?

So what?

If they'd cut $100 billion instead of $352 million, would that change, in any meaningful way, the United States' current fiscal situation? No, it would not. They're tinkering around the margins, because they cannot actually address the problems with Obama in the White House.

So everything that the GOP leadership does at the moment has to be done in such a fashion as to optimize progress towards two different goals.
  1. Improve the fiscal situation
  2. Improve the likelihood of taking the Senate and the White House in 2012.
Anything that doesn't move in both directions is counter-productive. Holding out for a better deal, shutting down the government in a futile attempt to cut $100 billion (or, to "keep that promise," if you prefer) is ultimately not helpful on either front. It makes no real improvement in the fiscal situation, and helps Barack Obama get re-elected.

To use a football analogy, they're playing a field-position game right now. It's early in the first quarter, they had the ball 4th and 7 from their own 42, and they chose to punt rather than go for it. I understand wanting Coach Boehner to go for it, but, in the long run, that isn't a smart play.

I don't like the deal that they made, but I recognize the political necessity for it. And the answer is to elect more Republicans and more conservatives, not to beat up on the ones that are already there working for the right things, even if they aren't working as fast as we'd like to see.

(H/T: Instapundit)

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