Wednesday, July 27, 2011

My Fellow Tea Partiers Should Grow Up

Although the House went solidly Republican last fall, Democrats still control the Senate, the Presidency and the media. Unless you control all three institutions of government, you do not yet have a mandate to make sweeping changes, and the way things are going on the debt-limit battle, we will lose the election in 2012. A government shutdown will be blamed on Republicans.

It is a strategic mistake to press for major changes in Social Security and Medicare at this time and give the Democrats a major issue on which to campaign. It is also a major mistake for Tea Partiers to undermine Speaker Boehner at this time. Obama still holds most of the cards. My friends are throwing away the baby with the bath water by letting Obama off the hook and destroying all hopes of accomplishing the most important thing - the defeat of Barack Obama in 2012. Without the mess that Tea Partiers have created, we had a great chance to win all three institutions and a mandate. Now it is about gone. I was one of the original Tea Partiers in April, 2009; now I say, "Thanks a lot, Tea Partiers".

So Long, Speaker Boehner?

With tea partiers reluctant to negotiate, he has only bad choices as the default deadline looms.

By David Morris July 26, 2011 Kiplinger

House Speaker John Boehner is stuck between the tea party and a hard place. No matter what happens in the debt ceiling debate, it shouldn’t surprise anyone if the Ohio Republican is the top dog in the House for just one term.

On the surface, the Ohio Republican seems perfectly suited for the role of negotiator. You can’t grow up as one of 12 siblings in a house with just two bedrooms and one bathroom without learning something about the art of compromise.

But Boehner is in a bind, knowing that the U.S. debt ceiling has to be raised soon, but caught between tea party Republicans who won’t give an inch and a president and Senate Democrats who won’t roll over and play dead.

It’s a lose-lose mess for Boehner. If he throws the Democrats a bone, perhaps agreeing to save money by tightening some tax loopholes, he risks not getting enough support from his own party to push a debt bill through the House. But if he tries to appease the tea party wing of the GOP, the bill won’t get enough votes to clear the Senate. Either outcome threatens to rattle the already shaky U.S. economy.

A third option -- kicking the can down the road -- isn’t likely to make those who lend money to the U.S. by buying Treasuries more inclined to keep buying without upping the risk premium. They’ll demand higher interest rates, which will both cost the government billions of extra dollars at a time when it can least afford it and increase borrowing costs across the board for consumers, homeowners and businesses. Moreover, the prospect of another big political standoff over the debt ceiling in the middle of next year’s presidential race is unappetizing, at best, and potentially catastrophic, at worst. That’s where things seem to be headed, though.

Congress and President Obama are on the verge of missing the best chance in a generation to get a handle on the debt and deficit, and to tackle changes to the Social Security and Medicare systems, which will only get shakier financially as more baby boomers stop paying in and start taking out benefits. Boehner and Obama seemed to be moving in the direction of such a megadeal -- combining big spending cuts and entitlement reform with additional revenues. But a relative handful of GOP lawmakers, mostly first-termers, decided that approach wasn’t their cup of tea.

Here’s the problem: Tea partyers in Congress don’t have enough votes to pass anything, but they can stop nearly everything, at least until fellow Republicans stand up to them and explain the gravity of the situation. So far that hasn’t happened. Getting control of the country’s debt and eliminating wasteful spending is a laudable goal, but allowing one part of one party that controls only one piece of the American government to dictate policy is unworkable.

That brings us back to Boehner. At some point -- soon -- he has to decide whether doing the tea party’s bidding is the best course for his party, not to mention for the nation. Either way, the decision may be personally painful. Tick off the tea party, and Boehner is likely to see House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) take over as speaker in 2013. But anger enough voters, and Boehner could see Democrats win back the House and Obama claim a second term in the White House.

What’s the speaker to do? It’s not too late to strike a deal with the president.

Boehner could give a little ground on tax revenues but insist that the president put forth his plan to tighten Medicare and Social Security benefits and hope that Obama takes a political hit for that. Then the speaker could hammer away at the high unemployment rate and the sluggish economy and let voters decide which candidates and which party they trust to move the country forward.

It’s a risky strategy, for sure, and there’s no guarantee of success. But it would give Boehner at least a fighting chance to remain relevant instead of retired.

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At 8:47 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When Tea Partiers grow up, they become Harry Reids and Nancy Pelosi's.

Let's try a different approach. Let's put America and Americans first, party 3rd or 4th.

At 9:08 AM, Blogger René O'Deay said...

Maybe you guys should ask how we even got to a problem with the debt-ceiling in the first place. seen the recent Federal Reserve Audit yet?
Here's the GAO Fed Reserve audit Report:

As I recall $770 biliion was authorized by Congress and President Bush as the TARP bill bailout, under threat of martial law in the rooms of Congress.
Where do they get the gall to hand out $16 TRILLION? and secretly and to foreign banks. this is treason in my book. I do not care what dam party is concerned.
Senator Bernie Sanders reports: "...the CEO of JP Morgan Chase served on the New York Fed's board of directors at the same time that his bank received more than $390 billion in financial assistance from the Fed. Moreover, JP Morgan Chase served as one of the clearing banks for the Fed's emergency lending programs."

If that doesn't piss you off, no matter what party you belong to or what country, you must have ice-water for blood.

and, yeah, tax-dodger Geithner was part and parcel to these deals.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Anonomous, Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi are two of the most despicable people and biggest liars in public life. They are the ones saying that Paul Ryan and Republicans want to cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for current seniors. If Reid and Pelosi prevail, both programs will go down the drain.


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