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The nation is burning down with debt, and Republicans are hanging Christmas budget decorations on the front porch

The nation is burning down with debt, and Republicans are hanging Christmas budget decorations on the front porch


I should have been more all over the budget deal reached between Paul Ryan and What’s-Her-Name-From-Way-Over-There.

I’ve been trying to understand both the details and the big picture. One thing I have noticed is that the mainstream media is loving it, REPUBLICAN SCHOOLYARD FIGHT! (Today’s ALL CAPS courtesy of Jim Geraghty.)

From Rick Klein at ABC News, Boehner’s Big Blast (ALL CAPS added):

It will be remembered for a message: This was the time that REPUBLICAN LEADERS SAID TO THEIR FRIENDS, CUT IT OUT.

“This is ridiculous,” House Speaker John Boehner declared of the opposition brought forward by an array of his erstwhile allies – Club for Growth, Heritage Action, the Koch brothers, and -by implication- senators including Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Tom Coburn, and even Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn.

The agreement set to pass the House today is significant but ultimately minuscule. It buys two years’ of budget peace, but in a familiar fashion: BY AVOIDING THE TOUGH STUFF (taxes, entitlements…).

And yet … this marks A MOMENT THE REPUBLICAN ESTABLISHMENT HAS BEEN LONGING FOR. (Serious question: What would the year have been like if Boehner delivered a similar message in, say, January, right after the GOP debacle of 2012?)

By calling out the outside groups that have outsized influence, Boehner’s message is that he’s planning on governing, not playing games. That he’s even able to deliver such a message at this stage of his speakership is remarkable in itself.

Boehner knows his conference, and he knows that he’ll get maybe 150 of his Republican colleagues to vote for the budget deal Rep. Paul Ryan cut with Sen. Patty Murray. Toss in a possibly equal number of Democrats, and BIPARTISANSHIP IS BREAKING OUT to close out the year.

There’s a report that Ryan Deal Limits Senate GOP’s Power to Block Tax Increases, but I have not assessed independently whether that is the case.  Would not surprise me.

There’s also griping about the promise not to vote on a bill for 72 hours not being kept.

I just don’t know what to make of it, other than the big picture that Republicans gave up on any hope of changing the trajectory of government for at least the next two years.  Gave up the fight.  Took a quick fix. 

Those are two lost years we cannot afford.

The budget deal, by postponing the hard things for two more years, creates the false sense of normalcy Obama and Democrats need for 2014. 

The nation is burning down with debt, and we’re hanging Christmas decorations on the front porch.

Update: Contrast Quin Hillyer, Ryan’s Rope:

House Budget Committee chairman Paul Ryan has now accomplished the astonishing task of pushing House Republicans substantially to the left of the Senate GOP. His budget deal, announced Tuesday night, was achieved by shutting conservative Senate Republicans out of negotiations, by resorting to the old trick of spending now while claiming savings later, by ignoring a symbolically important budgetary red line, and by treating as Democratic “concessions” things to which even Democratic budgeteers already had agreed.

The chess equivalent of Ryan’s deal would be trading a castle for a mere pawn. No wonder conservatives are feeling rooked….

And with Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell already having signaled a determination to stand firm on sequester-level domestic spending, this slap in the face of Senate Republicans amounted to a particularly low blow against conservatives. The one time the Senate GOP seemed to have some backbone, Ryan glued its underside to the bench.

With Meghan McArdle, Republicans Get The Better End Of The Budget Deal (via Instapundit):

But if they do nothing at all, many reason, they get all the sequestration cuts. Why trade them away?

To avoid another showdown. Though I, too, would like government to shrink, I think this is the right policy trade-off; shutdowns are making it harder and harder to talk about rational budget policy in this town. And tactically, I think this is a clear win for the Republican Party. The last thing they need right now is to take the focus off the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and revive Obama’s flagging poll numbers with an ill-timed budget battle. Their best shot at a budget they really like is, after all, to retake the Senate in 2014.

One hopes that Congressional Republicans understand that, too. You’ll see folks like McConnell vote against it, but that’s a free vote for them; McConnell’s party doesn’t control his chamber. In the House, however, Ryan and John Boehner ought to be able to coax the caucus along to a majority “yes” vote — at least if the caucus is rationally attuned to the best interests of their party. Of course, some days that looks like a pretty big “if.”

We never do well when we tread water or do the backstroke. I’m for not letting up the pressure.


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In August, they where arguing that we should not fight over funding Obamacare because they wanted to focus on preserving the sequester.

Now, they are ditching the sequester to focus on Obamacare.

ah, yea.

casualobserver | December 12, 2013 at 9:59 am

Seems to me that Paul Ryan tipped his hand recently when he stated that “elections have consequences” while further suggesting that real change can only come with at a minimum a majority win in the Senate. So, right or wrong, the GOP ‘establishment’ has thrown in the towel on fighting the Dem and media spin and propaganda for every effort they make in reducing spending until they win more elections.

Don’t know how smart it is, because it certainly energizes many to oust existing GOP members from the right. But it is an uphill battle when you have to fight both your Dem opponent AND your local and national media whenever you stand your ground. I guess many want to keep their seats in Congress first, and govern with a majority later.

This interview of Stockman is a real eyeopener regarding the time line that is created by this budget “deal”..

and then you also have the democrat party to worry about.

Republicans are ultra-worried about a government shutdown distracting from the trainwreck that is the ObamaCare rollout. End of story. Politics over policy; business as usual.

That puts it in a nice, neat nutshell.

But it isn’t simple. Politicians have to pay attention to politics. They can’t implement policy without it.

We have a Collective in power who, while having acknowledged the problem we have with nuclear over-spending (Obama pledged at one time to tackle entitlements), will NEVER give up their entitlement freehold.

We have to find a way to overcome their various ploys, because Hateful Harry Reid wants nothing more than another government “slim down” to play demagogue with, and pull the public away from ObamaDoggle.

Some leadership would be nice.

Gee the Republicans could Fillibuster! Oh nevermind.

Seriously – we don’t need a budget fight right now. We need everyone focusing on the ObamaCare disaster. Because, if it sinks the entire HealthCare Sector – it will be like the Mortgage Bubble Collapse – with dead people!

Time to sit this election out and just vote for Republican senators.

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to mackykam. | December 12, 2013 at 10:40 am

    Time to only vote for Repubs who fight.
    We don’t need more surrender monkeys. Sorry.

      Fine for the primaries, but ceding elections to Democrats because the Republican on the ballot is not enough of a fighter is a losing strategy. It certainly doesn’t encourage Republicans to be fighters, because it conveys the message that the electorate prefers Democrats and therefore the Republicans need to move to the squishy middle.

Don’t fall for the MSM distraction and set up for the blame game. The Dems hate the deal because there is no positive PR in it for them, ala the extension of the unemployment benefits. The Dems will scotch the deal they agreed to in the hopes the Party of Stupid will cave to their typical position of just one more item for us, I mean the public, I mean us.

IF the Party of Stupid plays the cards properly, they will let the bill go down in flames with the Dems voting against it and then go home for the Christmas Break allowing Sequester 2 (Budget Control Act of 2011) to come into effect. Remember, the deficit this last FY was below a trillion dollars only due to the Sequester, not to the negotiating prowess of the pols in charge.

This should be billed as Obama Strikes Again, because the Sequester was HIS IDEA. Oh, the irony…a spendthrift liberal forcing the government to live on the same amount of money.

Perhaps it’s becoming a bit clearer why DHS bought those 1.5B bullets ….

The GOP is psychologically unraveling. It simply can’t process Barack Obama, i.e, who he is, what he’s doing, what he means. It’s too much. To accept the reality would demand a commensurate response. It’s beyond them — the internalization of reality and the response. So the only option available to them is denial and this bizarre over-compensation. The analogy of hanging decorations is a good one. I prefer to liken the GOP to a happy housewife baking cakes and singing to herself in denial as her serial-killer husband drags bodies into the basement.

    Rick in reply to raven. | December 12, 2013 at 11:17 am

    obama + his lackey press is too much for current Republican leadership, whose only strategy is to hope that obama makes a mistake so large that the press cannot cover it up.

    MaggotAtBroadAndWall in reply to raven. | December 12, 2013 at 11:46 am

    Or maybe they are just as corrupt and beholden to special interests as the Democrats. It’s convenient that the second highest ranking Republican in the House, Eric Canter, sits in a district that benefits disproportionately from military spending. Assuming the budget deal passes, it will destroy the sequester. That means the planned military cuts mandated by the sequester will not happen. Just in time for the “next election”, which is always just around the corner and prevents real reform because the special interest cronies are always screaming.

Boehner is right about one thing: this IS ridiculous.

We need an American Lech Walesa. Nothing less will do.

Could someone explain to me why fighting for better budget deals and focusing on the death spiral of Obamacare are mutually exclusive, as the RINO-herd GOP would have us believe?

Look what the botched Obamacare website roll out and 5 million cancelled individual health insurance plans did to the Democrat Party’s standing with the people. Between now and Oct 1st, between 50-100 million (depending on whom you believe) more health insurance plan holders will receive cancellation notices. Short of nuclear war or an alien invasion, there is absolutely no way to STOP that from being a main focus. The country is about to go nuts against Obama and the Democrat Party. The Democrats know this. The GOP knows this. And yet, the GOP negotiates when they don’t have to, and worse, do it from a inexplicably perceived position of weakness.

The GOP’s weakness is not in their political position, it is in its lack of gumption, lack of leadership, and the inherent selfishness of incumbency.

    JimMtnViewCaUSA in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm

    “The GOP’s weakness is not in their political position”

    I’ve come to the conclusion that they favor illegal immigration. They favor enormous government. They want to continue funding corrupt departments of the UN. They want to continue funding pro-Dem organizations like PBS, government unions.
    All you can say is “they’re not as bad as Dems.” Modestly better.

    And pathetically, the only gumption the Party of Stupid needs is to do nothing, nothing at all. Allow nature to take its course with Obama and the Democrats, they are doing an excellent job of destroying themselves, why interfere?

    BTW – There needs to be a carrot and stick approach to the Party of Stupid leadership since they seem to crave positive public attention, especially from the wrong corners of the political map. They should be by default called the Party of Stupid, not the GOP or Republican Party and only specifically called GOP or Republican IF they do something right.

      Henry Hawkins in reply to dscott. | December 12, 2013 at 1:04 pm

      The GOP establishment is learning the hardest lesson for appeasers – that once you’ve ceded to your opponents on one issue, they’ll simply move to another. And another, and another.

    Henry Hawkins in reply to Henry Hawkins. | December 12, 2013 at 1:01 pm

    To Jim & DScott – Just so, and what we’re describing is the GOP establishment members wanting to remain in their individual offices no matter what, nothing may risk that, so they may continue to enjoy what Democrat incumbents enjoy – the spoils of incumbency, the kickbacks from fed money sent home, the business connections, the pathways to post-duty big money positions with lobbyists, corporations, etc. This is what I refer to as the inherent selfishness of incumbency, and none of those bennies require majority position in the House or Senate. The GOP leadership doesn’t care about winning as a party, only as individuals allowed to keep their collective snouts in the feed trough of federal money and connections.

    While the veil is being ripped off the Obama administration and Democrat Party, another veil is concurrently slipping off the establishment GOP. Rubio, and now Ryan, have slipped over to the dark side.

I don’t like the deal, but on the other hand, I don’t want the media to focus on anything other than Obamacare

    Henry Hawkins in reply to imfine. | December 12, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Repeat: Look what 5 million people losing insurance did. 50-100 million more will lose theirs between now and Oct 2014. The people are going to go nuts like we’ve never seen in our lifetimes.

      Yeah but they’ll take whatever distraction they can get. I would prefer to keep sequestration on full boar, but whatever, I don’t care about the rest. The difference between sequestration and no sequestration is so ridiculously small, who cares? We need a house and senate and the presidency and someone that could put this all together by fixing entitlements completely.

“I just don’t know what to make of it, other than the big picture that Republicans gave up on any hope of changing the trajectory of government for at least the next two years. Gave up the fight.”

This is not a serious response. What on earth do you think Republicans could do more for the next two budget years, until and unless we take back the Senate? The only way to “keep” sequester would be another government shutdown, and another every three months or so, which Obama would love to take the spotlight off his incompetence.

Did you learn nothing from the Cruz debacle? Nothing at all?

ObamaCare shall henceforth be known as BoehnerCare.