Mar 30 2009
It seems the Keystone Kops of DC right now include a fair contingent of the far right GOP, who are once again insulting potential allies, offering up stupidly vague platitudes and simply continuing the same crap that led them into the political wilderness of the fringes and out of power. Example 1:
The Obama administration budget — released on February 26th — hung in the air without a Republican alternative until last week when House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Oh) held a press conference to announce the long-awaited plan.Â But there was much more — and much less — than met the eye in the Republicanâ€™s announcement.
The problem with Boehnerâ€™s announcement — and the 18-page plan released to the press — is that itâ€™s a litany of often-heard Republican ideas, not a detailed plan for reducing government spending and keeping the nation safe. Â
And, unfortunately, it seemed to keep Republicans on the track that destroyed their brand over the past decade.Â On healthcare, it sounds like Obama-lite:Â
â€œRepublicans seek to provide universal access to affordable heath care and to address Medicare and Medicaidâ€™s trillion-dollar unfunded liabilities with common-sense reforms that ensure our children and grandchildren can secure benefits into the future.â€
Mocking Boehnerâ€™s plan repeatedly, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs said that it “doesn’t actually contain any numbers.” Â
This vagueness means there is nothing concrete to oppose the Obama debacle. Why no details and all sound bite BS?
Several Capitol Hill Republican sources confirmed that Boehner rushed the announcement before the Republican alternative was finished.Â But why — a month after the presidentâ€™s announcement — werenâ€™t Congressional Republicans pushing a clear alternative?
In part, it is because Senate Republican leaders decided against one.Â In a meeting last Wednesday of the conservative Republican Steering Committee, the fifteen members were still debating what to do despite their leadersâ€™ reluctance.Â According to a Republican source, they debated whether and how to â€œgrind it out, slow it downâ€ and make the voters understand how expensive Obamaâ€™s budget — and the consequences — will be.Â And no decision was reached.
Egos. Big, fat, recalcitrant DC egos. They keep wanting to be the hero instead of a coalition of opposition large enough to stop and possibly reverse the mess Obama and the Dems have created. In fact, it is much worse than vague incompetence at work here, it is political suicide of the arrogant:
House Republican leaders appear to be split on whether to reach out to their moderate colleagues on the other side of the aisle to fight the Democratic agenda.Â
While Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., held out an olive branch to moderate Democrats known as “Blue Dogs” Wednesday, calling on his “friends” to join the GOP in opposing the budget, House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, slammed the group as “lap dogs.”Â
The split underscores the difficulty the Republican Party is having finding a way to fight President Obama’s budget blueprint, endorsed Wednesday by the House Budget Committee.Â
You cannot fight the President if you don’t have the votes in Congress. And you can’t get the votes in Congress by insulting your potential allies. Here we have the best example of why (a) the conservative purity wars started by the far right under Bush led to liberal control of Congress, and (b) why conservatism is in ‘exile’ and will remain there.
Yes, there are plenty of out of control conservatives with pitch forks ready to storm the towers (and tear down this democracy they claim they love so much). But they are not a very large group (being a fraction of a minority). What we need are patriots who accept our constitutional government elements – especially when they don’t lead in the direction we wish. To be a patriot is not toÂ wallowÂ in victory but to persevere in times of challenge. The far right forgot that.
And it is amazing it is doing so badly in these times given some of the poll numbers we see on the liberal policies themselves (here a majority of businesses oppose the Obama/Pelosi/Reid plans for the economy). With growing anxiety and disappointment with the direction the Dems are taking this country it takes a special kind of ineptitude to remain impotent in the opposition.
Those stinky moderates have the right idea (from above):
Ryan made a blunt appeal for Democratic allies this week.Â
“I want to make a plea to a special select audience. I want to ask my friends, the Blue Dog Democrats, do you really want all this government? Do you want your fingerprints on this massive and unprecedented growth in our national debt? You hold the cards. You hold the votes that can make a difference in this,” said Ryan, the senior Republican on the House Budget Committee, during a hearing on the 2010 budget Wednesday.Â
Ryan is right, and has been right Â for sometime (from above):
Ryan — an energetic conservative — was outspoken on election night.Â After Obama won, Ryan said that Republicans needed â€œa housecleaningâ€ and that they had to be the party of big ideas.Â And thereâ€™s reason to believe that Ryanâ€™s plan — to be released tomorrow — will follow that line.
As the â€œAlmanac of American Politicsâ€ reports, in 2007, after being selected to be ranking on the Budget Committee, Ryan said, â€œWe lost our brand as the party of fiscal responsibility, and weâ€™ve got to get it backâ€¦Itâ€™s important that we give voters a very clear choice on fiscal policy as to where the two parties stand.â€Â Ryan took action to do just that in March 2007 when he offered an alternative to the Bush budget that would have trimmed spending considerably.Â It was voted down, with many Republicans voting against it.
Hopefully, some day, the GOP will get rid of the obsessed dead wood and select leaders – not zealots with small ideas and grand delusions. But until that happens we will be stuck with incompetence of the liberals. It seems America finds the far right that repulsive, they would stick with the liberals instead of going back to the failed GOP. That is a message too many are just not listening to.
Update: As if to emphasize the opportunity to build a new governing coalition, Jonathan Chait at the New Republic is out with damning piece about how the Democrats are imploding again (repeating the Carter, Clinton debacles):
The last Democrat who held the White House, Bill Clinton, saw the core of his domestic agenda come to ruin, his political support collapse, and his failure spawn a massive Republican resurgence that made progressive reform impossible for a decade to come. The Democrat who last held the White House before that, Jimmy Carter, saw the exact same thing happen to him.
At this early date, nobody can know whether or not Barack Obama will escape this fate. But the contours of failure are now clearly visible. In Obama’s case, as with his predecessors, the prospective culprit is the same: Democrats in Congress, and especially the Senate. At a time when the country desperately needs a coherent response to the array of challenges it faces, the congressional arm of the Democratic Party remains mired in fecklessness, parochialism, and privilege. Obama has made mistakes, as did his predecessors. Yet the constant recurrence of legislative squabbling and drift suggests a deeper problem than any characterological or tactical failures by these presidents: a congressional party that is congenitally unable to govern.
We have to have more options for Congress than “feckless” and “zealots” in this country. Have we really made politics so bad that the best and brightest go elsewhere?
Update: The core of the moderate conservatives is the pragmatic small businesses. We have to deal with the complete spectrum of political views in our day to day efforts to make a living, and we learn that compromise is not evil but actually quite productive. It allows people of differing views to come together and produce something real, to make progress, or whatever the business challenge is.
Is it any wonder that America is now looking to small businesses to rescue America from the economic disasters the political fringes have created over decades of senseless bickering:
A recent survey conducted by co-author Schoen for the Kauffman Foundation showed that Americans, by a 63 to 23 percent margin, prefer polices that incentivize individuals to start their own businesses over direct government efforts to create new jobs. An even higher percentage of respondents – 79 percent – say that entrepreneurs are more important job creators than big business, scientists and government (dead last).
Finding common ground and creating success (along with jobs and a good living) is what we moderate small business people do. Both parties need to remember that when the give their vacuous speeches laden with 3rd grade spin and ignore their mountain of mistakes and broken promises.