The emails that went out via RSS provoked a wild and mixed bag of responses. I plan on posting some of the responses soon, but for now let me say that I believe the movement is split 50%-50% on what is happening in the budget fight.
I myself find that I keep jumping back and forth between “shut it down” and “keep it up Boehner!” There were a couple comments on the last post, as well as some email discussions that got me thinking about it all in a much deeper way.
As much as a I literally hate to admit it, I think we have to face the facts. And the facts are simple…
…Republicans got what they could. In fact, they probably got more than they should have been able to.
This looks less like a victory for either side and more of a five-month truce. The fight to cut just a tiny slice of the overall budget took months to resolve, and all of these issue will arise again in September when Congress has to pass the FY2012 budget. Donâ€™t expect the fight to get any easier, at least not on discretionary spending.
But thatâ€™s not the big problem anyway. The big problem in the budget is entitlement spending, which will require months to review for reform. The only proposal on the table for that at the moment is Ryanâ€™s plan. The other option would be to consider the Bowles-Simpson plan, but since Bowles and Simpson both gave at least praise for Ryanâ€™s proposal, Ryan has the momentum. Now, with FY2011 off the table, the House can move forward on serious entitlement reform that will give an actual opportunity to get significant reductions to the deficit and start us on the path of fiscal sanity.
Weâ€™ll see who won in September, but Republicans have achieved one major accomplishment. Not only did they force the first actual reductions in government spending in ages, but they have changed the political paradigm from whether to cut to how much and where to cut. Thatâ€™s a pretty impressive victory for a party that only controls one chamber of Congress.
As I’ve said before, many within the tea party movement are demanding a shutdown. And as I’ve said before, I would support it IF it were a REAL shutdown, but the one we faced last Friday was NOT a real shutdown.
In fact, I strongly believe that even if government had “shut down” it would have been back open for business by Monday morning. This path is not sound strategy. Especially when, due to false messaging and astro-turf narratives, the Democrats will successfully put the blame squarely on tea partiers and Republicams.
So what is the alternative? Well, you could argue that Boehner should have started at $400 BILLION and worked his way back, getting bigger cuts in a compromise. This is what I advocated for on Twitter.
Boehner didn’t do that, however. Instead he made the mistake of starting at his promised $100 BILLION in cuts and had to work backwards from there through compromise.
Education isn’t free.
With all of this in mind, Boehner actually got the maximum that he could get. To dispute this would be to dispute reality. Remember, Democrats didn’t even want $6 BILLION in cuts. Now they’re facing $38.5 BILLION on top of the cuts that already came through CR’s this year. I think the total is around $79 BILLION for the year.
Furthermore, the media is hammering away at this as if Democrats were sidelined the entire time. While Obama and Reid tried to take credit, it will be hard for any of this to come out in their favor.
Boehner may have been outnumbered by Democrats at the table 2-to-1, but by the way the final deal shaped up, you wouldn’t know it. The Speaker got $38.5 billion dollars in cuts, including $2 billion in a short-term stopgap measure running through Thursday as staffers put the finishing touches on his long-term deal. Boehner also forced the Senate to hold votes on Title X family planning funds and on defunding President Obama’s health care reform law. And then there’s the DC school vouchers program â€” a pet cause of the speaker â€” which was reinstated in the deal.
Perhaps more important, Boehner proved he can keep his caucus mostly in line when it counts. For weeks Democrats said the tea party-wing of Boehner’s conference was pushing negotiations toward a shutdown, by demanding deeper and deeper cuts. With a shutdown averted, Boehner cleared a key hurdle. Though it doesn’t mean the road ahead with a final vote on the long-term deal will be without bumps.
On Pelosi they say…
It was just a year ago that Pelosi, not Boehner, was the force at the negotiating table pushing Obama to enact historic health care and financial reform legislation. This time around she was barely a player. Friday night, Pelosi released a statement that could be characterized as lukewarm at best. She congratulated Obama and Reid, but made no mention of Boehner.
Yes, this solution falls short of the promised $100 BILLION, but what do we expect them to do?
We’ve got to get the Democrats out of the Senate and White House. That’s the bottom line. Because until then, we aren’t going to get rid of the Department of Education or get anywhere with talks of Fairtax and serious reforms.
It’s natural for us to be a little upset that we didn’t get the promised $100 BILLION. But let’s not damage the brand we need to defeat leftist Democrats in 2012.
I know this post will probably not be popular with a lot of my friends in the movement. Please know, though, I’m just trying to be realistic.
In the end of every political decision we have to ask “who does this benefit?” If a shutdown potentially benefits leftist who oppose America… why would we support it? If spend time, energy and money trying to beat Boehner in a primary, and in the process fail to defeat Democrats in the Senate and White House… who does that benefit?