Jul 27 2011

Where Is The Line Between Victory & Defeat On The Nation’s Debt Limit?

Published by at 6:58 am under All General Discussions

Charles Krauthammer was on Bill O’Reilly last night and was voicing a major (and legitimate) concern. Since it is impossible to get everything we want now, with only the House under GOP control and therefore open to pressure from the GOP and Tea Party Libertarians, how do we declare victory and reap some rewards on the debt ceiling? More important, how do we not fail and lose all the progress to date.

In many ways victory has been achieved. Endless deficit spending is now the enemy of democracy and our free economy. We have begun to end the knee-jerk myth that the answer to all things is a government program. Many are prepared to sacrifice if that sacrifice turns things around. Raising taxes is not a preferred solution, and is probably considered a last resort if anything.

All in all, the Tea Party has to be congratulated in turning the debate around and in the right direction. But as I have said before, now comes the part where we need patience, steel nerves and real results.

Which is why I still say a short term debt ceiling rise is in the nation’s interest. Contrary to the left wing media spin, I think the country would prefer the forcing function of the debt ceiling and the debate it forces over the pretend out year fixes that never arise. Because that too is another victory we have in our hands – no more shell games or punting. No one is buying the grand solution. Every poll shows:

  • People don’t want the debt ceiling raised because it adds to our kids life long burden, but we know it must be and therefore serious reforms and changes must come with it.
  • People absolutely reject broad tax increases or more mad liberal spending – we know the stimulus bill was a disastrous fail. So liberal economics has been totally debunked.
  • People don’t trust government to work, politicians to tell the truth or the news media to know what the truth is, which means the voters are freeing themselves from the propaganda and spin.

The best sign of progress was President Obama whining about how Presidents Reagan, Clinton and George W Bush all increased the debt limit without any friction or debate. Well, that era mindless debt limit increases is gone and Obama is the poor sap who has to deal with an electorate fed up with a screwed up, ineffective and overly costly government.

While the debate has turned in the right direction, we have yet to see tangible changes. Even Boehner’s plan fell short of making any real cuts. The problem is too big and to multifaceted to solve in one fell swoop. You can’t take on all the out of control spending issues and their political implications all at once. We can’t cut 40% of the budget overnight. The toll in human financial pain and fear would be too much too soon.

So we go back to an idea Krauthammer and I both promoted – small increases tied to digestible and acceptable changes in fiscal course. I would put on the table a 6 month debt limit increase and some low hanging fixes that can be implemented now, and some that can begin to be phased in after the 6 months. Rinse and repeat.

This will take us to the 2012 election without chaos and the blame that will go with it. Krauthammer is right, we can all still misplay this thing and end up with an Obama second term and Pelosi back as Speaker. We have to find point where we can bank the fruits of our labors without total failure. Face it, concrete measures can only be ensured over short time periods, primarily because the government take years to change its mind, let alone fix things. So the long game should be off the table. Even if the House fails, we will have another shot in 6 months.

With the ship of state turning in the right direction, we must recognize we are heading into a sea of icebergs of possible failures. Running full steam is not the answer, no matter how badly we want to get to our destination. We must find that line between victory and failure and make sure we get as close to it as possible – this round. Then we prepare for the next round and the next goal.

Update: And BTW, Krauthammer rightfully noted the next big goal – the 2012 elections. With only the House the GOP and Tea Party are unable to do anything major. But if they took the Senate and White House, while expanding their reach in the states, that Balanced Budget Amendment looks more and more feasible.

Which brings us to the other fruits of the 2010 victory and debt ceiling debate – Obama’s sinking poll numbers:

The race for president isn’t a national contest. It’s a state-by-state battle to cobble an electoral vote majority. So while the national polls are useful in gauging the president’s popularity, the more instructive numbers are those from the battlegrounds.

Those polls are even more ominous for the president: In every reputable battleground state poll conducted over the past month, Obama’s support is weak. In most of them, he trails Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. For all the talk of a closely fought 2012 election, if Obama can’t turn around his fortunes in states such as Michigan and New Hampshire, next year’s presidential election could end up being a GOP landslide.

Obama’s support is collapsing because of this debt ceiling debate and his failures on the economy and job creation. Again, we don’t need to throw the guy a life line by overplaying the hand now. Short term debt ceiling rise, some achievable (yet small) fixes and come back this winter to discuss the next round.

9 responses so far

9 Responses to “Where Is The Line Between Victory & Defeat On The Nation’s Debt Limit?”

  1. WWS says:

    Glad to see that Boehner is rewriting the bill; he’s played a difficult hand pretty well so far.

    Saw a piece this morning that’s the highest on the unintentional comedy that I have seen for quite some time: Paul Krugman in the NYT on why he hates centrists, centrism, and compromise in general:

    http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/07/26/the-cult-that-is-destroying-america/

    read it if only to remind us all that the hard core of the left is even more insane and intransigent than the hard core of the right. And that the NYT, far from being “in the center”, is promoting as radical and far left a position as you can find these days.

  2. dhunter says:

    The Lyin kING, even while bemoaning the fact that the debt ceiling was raised for his predecessors, failed to mention that HE, The Lyin kING, voted against raising the debt ceiling in his short term in the Senate under Bush once, and abstained, or voted present, the other times.
    President Lyin kING also failed to mention he has almost tripled the debt in two years that Bush ran up in 8.

    Someone needs to remind his Presstitutes and the American Sheeple of that over and over and over again.

  3. ivehadit says:

    One of the best parts about this debt debate is that the American people (who care enough to engage on this) are getting a HUGE dose of where and how our government is spending THEIR money. Some are shocked, I would suspect.

  4. lurker9876 says:

    I don’t mind short term deals. For one thing, it forces Obama in another process of negotiations to extend the limit once more. The close the next negotiation process is to November 2012, the more difficult it will be for Obama to get re-elected.

    Secondly, the Republicans need to make sure that Obama and the Democrats get the blame for what happened in Obama’s first two years.

    So nothing from Obama today?

  5. OFg8r says:

    I really believe that Boehner is fighting the good fight. I hope the Tea Party activists will get behind him. I hope the big mouths in the media, e.g. Limbaugh will just shut up. He is searching so hard for the “perfect and unattainable”, that he cannot even see the “good and attainable” when it is in front of him. It is going to be a long, multi-step process to get this country on track. The best that can be expected until at least 2013, and possibly even beyond that, are small advances gained through some compromises. Rejecting those simply because of ideological purity will never get us there.

    Glad to see the remarks about the nature of our Presidential elections. I pasted those in an email to my personal correspondents. I have been trying to convince folks to take the national polls with a grain of salt simply because our Presidential elections are not a national popularity contest. The states where the polls are headquartered, and no doubt do a lot of their polling, don’t even matter any more. Both parties have written New York and California off to the Democrats, and expend their efforts in the battlegrounds. Significantly, Obama is polling well behind Romney in Michigan. If he cannot win Michigan, he cannot win.

  6. WWS says:

    Listening to the Dems tonight, I don’t get the feeling that they think they need to back down. More and more, I’m thinking we really will push this into some kind of default.

    Both sides have painted themselves into corners that they can’t get out of, and neither can now back down without suffering a huge political defeat.

    hmm – 150 years ago this summer, all the smart money said that the political dispute would make a lot of noise and then be over by Thanksgiving, when everything would go back to business as usual. Well, at least we’re not breaking out the guns this time – at least not yet.

  7. lurker9876 says:

    Let them go to a default.

    Question: Who will be perceived as taking the blame?

  8. dhunter says:

    How ironic that that shameless, old, panderer McCain would poke his mug into the debate at the worst possible time and bash the Tea Party.
    Maybe foghorn, blowhard forgets it was Sarah who drug his utter failure of a Presidential campaign into half a chance until he stupidly suspended his campaign and paniced himself into irrelavency once agin.
    It was Tea Party Sarah he asked to come to Arizona last fall and convince Arizonans he was not just another liberal like Snowe or Collins.
    However honorably McCain had long ago served in Vietnam his record as a Senator has been anything but exemplary, having sponsored and passed two unconstitutional pieces of legislation.
    The greasy, old panderer was not too proud to make his POW status the basis for living forever off the public dole and was not too proud to use the Tea Party to get re-elected.
    McCain should try reaching across the isle to conservatives just once or just shut up and do no harm.
    Boehners cuts are NOT cuts as Rush pointed out they are just a speed bump to increases. The Government will still grow, just not as fast.
    How would you like to be able to say the 7% raise you got this year was a cut in pay because you didn’t get the same 10% you got last year?
    That is the grounds we are being sold out on.
    Sadly with the Demrats in charge that may be the best we can get until we get rid of some Rats and some McCains.
    McCain is the FACE of why we are where we are and if we keep doing things the way the washed up old 60′s crowd has been doing them we will never get out of the hole they have dug us into.
    Tea Party Proud and gonna stay LOUD!

  9. [...] they definitely did not want their voices muted by another CYA committee (which everyone ignores). Yesterday I asked how could we save the fruits of our victory- and the answer today is we have no fruits to [...]