There’s a point in every argument where one accidentally crosses a line between one making an objective, righteous argument and one that appears cynical and stubborn.
The argument over the debt ceiling would’ve never occurred were it not for the Tea Party. The Republicans would’ve buckled under the weight of Obama’s rhetoric and threats, Reid’s soft spoken partisanship, and the media’s guerilla warfare tactics. As Congressman David Dreier (R.-CA), chairman of the House Rules Committee, said “the debt ceiling has been raised 75 times since 1962 without debate, policy changes, or any strings attached. That approach is precisely the fundamental problem.” The Tea Party has been instrumental in changing the argument, and the climate, in Washington. The Tea Party has provided the Republican party with what it’s needed for decades: a spine. It’s time to declare victory, vote for the Boehner deal, and live to fight another day. When Thomas Sowell, George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Paul Ryan, and Allen West say it’s time. It’s time. These columnists have followed politics for a long time. They know how to read tea leaves.
Thomas Sowell says: “The most basic fact of life is that we can make our choices only among the alternatives actually available. It is not idealism to ignore the limits of one’s power. Nor is it selling out one’s principles to recognize those limits at a given time and place, and get the best deal possible under those conditions.
“That still leaves the option of working toward getting a better deal later, when the odds are more in your favor.
“There would not be a United States of America today if George Washington’s army had not retreated and retreated and retreated, in the face of an overwhelmingly more powerful British military force bent on annihilating Washington’s troops.
“Later, when the conditions were right for attack, General Washington attacked. But he would have had nothing to attack with if he had wasted his troops in battles that would have wiped them out.”
Charles Krauthammer: “(Abraham) Lincoln is reputed to have said: I hope to have God on my side, but I must have Kentucky. I don’t know whether conservatives have God on their side (I keep getting sent to His voice mail), but I do know that they don’t have Kentucky — they don’t have the Senate, they don’t have the White House. And under our constitutional system, you cannot govern from one house alone. Today’s resurgent conservatism, with its fidelity to constitutionalism, should be particularly attuned to this constraint, imposed as it is by a system of deliberately separated — and mutually limiting — powers.”
Republican house members have had taxes taken off the table, and they have had increased spending limits. They run the risk of appearing cynical, stubborn, and partisan when they fight for more. More importantly, they run the risk of having a huge drop in the stock market fall directly on their shoulders should economic disasters happen as a result of a ‘no’ vote. Is it fair, no, the current crop of Republican Congressman had little to nothing to do with the current debt crisis when compared to the blame that should be shouldered by the two previous sessions led by Congress Nancy Pelosi. It’s a nasty trick of the debt limit raising process that those who seek to raise it incur some of the blame for the past sessions of Congress that caused it, but it’s our current system.
Krauthammer: “Consider the Boehner Plan for debt reduction. The Heritage Foundation’s advocacy arm calls it “regrettably insufficient.” Of course it is. That’s what happens when you control only half a branch. But the plan’s achievements are significant. It is all cuts, no taxes. It establishes the precedent that debt-ceiling increases must be accompanied by equal spending cuts. And it provides half a year to both negotiate more fundamental reform (tax and entitlement) and keep the issue of debt reduction constantly in the public eye.
“I am somewhat biased about the Boehner Plan because for weeks I’ve been arguing (in this column and elsewhere) for precisely such a solution: a two-stage debt-ceiling hike consisting of a half-year extension with dollar-for-dollar spending cuts, followed by intensive negotiations on entitlement and tax reform. It’s clean. It’s understandable. It’s veto-proof. (Obama won’t dare.) The Republican House should have passed it weeks ago.”
The one quote I have for Tea Party Congressmen, and their constituents, comes from George S. Patton: “If everyone is thinking alike, then someone is not thinking.” When those that are thinking alike are your party’s philosophical leaders, however, it’s time to, at least, consider what they’re saying.