Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Boehner Repeals Murphy's Law?

William McGurn: Boehner Repeals Murphy's Law - WSJ.com
When it comes to Murphy's Law—the idea that anything that can go wrong, will—we Irish have our corollary: Murphy was an optimist.

Even from this sunny perspective, it's hard to look at the debt-ceiling compromise and see it as anything but a conservative victory. It's not just that Speaker of the House John Boehner succeeded in imposing some conditions in exchange for an increase in the debt ceiling. It's that the deal has Democrats, including the president, essentially signing on to the Republican framework for defining the Beltway's budget problem: spending that is too high rather than taxes that are too low.

For the moment, the press focus remains on the intra-conservative spat between Republicans who favor Mr. Boehner's deal and tea partiers who largely oppose it. These disagreements will fade, however. And come the 2012 elections this deal will help force the debate that all conservatives have wanted all along—about the size, scope, and proper mission of our federal government.
McGurn goes further, but this is actually the key issue, and the one that needs to be highlighted. This is the central question of our times - what is the proper role of government? What is its "proper mission"? What tasks rightfully fall within its scope? How big does it need to be to perform that mission, those tasks? How do we fund it? These are questions on which there is, at the moment, no fundamental agreement between large groups of citizens living under that government.

I think that Boehner, and the House Republicans, have performed very effectively during the year, and during this debate. While there are people who aren't thrilled with the deal (actually, I suspect that there's no one who is actually "thrilled" with the deal), I doubt that any sitting Republicans have hurt themselves for the 2012 campaign. And that's important, because they need to hold the house. They also need to take the Senate and the White House, because that's when they're going to be able to really change the trajectory we're currently on.

But I think "repealed Murphy's law" is more than a bit too strong. Let's say, rather, that they evaded it, briefly...

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