There is something of a split developing in the Republican Party over this latest plan House Speaker John Boehner put out there earlier this week. The Tea Party isn’t interested in Boehner’s idea to empower a commission to cut the deficit, both because there have been 16 such commissions in the last three decades without result and because such a commission is both extraconstitutional and doomed to deadlock.
In response, Boehner and the Republican establishment are accusing the Tea Party of putting the GOP House majority at risk. The editors at National Review enunciated the position well…
What House conservatives should not do, we think, is simply work to blow up the plan in the hope that wondrous things will happen when it explodes. Some of our friends in the House seem to think that if they push the stalemate far enough that the government hits the debt limit, victory will fall into their laps and scores of Democrats will go along with a constitutional amendment that requires balanced budgets and limits spending. It is more likely that, with Republicans having openly pushed for blowing the deadline, they will be blamed for any negative consequences. Senate Republicans may cut and run even before that point, isolating the House and making it more likely that a rump of House Republicans will work along with Democrats to pass something worse than the Boehner plan. The least likely outcome is that liberals will sign a suicide note by acquiescing, in the next week or two, to the enshrinement of conservative fiscal goals in the Constitution.
As is often the case, the best advice the party could get comes from Rush Limbaugh, who suggests that Boehner needs to stand pat and make the Democrats come up with a plan and pass one through the Senate.
Limbaugh is correct in noting that by presenting a plan AFTER the passage of Cut, Cap and Balance Boehner has split his caucus unnecessarily, and the conservatives who worked so hard to get CCB through the House are going to rightly object to his abandoning it so soon after its passage.
Today’s chaos is the result. It would have been better if instead of getting a free pass to take potshots at the Tea Party and scream about how the supposed barbarians who just arrived on Capitol Hill are attempting to trash the economy, Democrats like Chuck Schumer and Harry Reid would be forced to busy themselves attempting to come up with a plan of their own which could pass through the Senate.
But as is almost always the case, the worst advice the GOP can get comes courtesy of its 2008 presidential nominee John McCain, who managed to trash virtually everyone in the party while going on the Senate floor to capitulate to the Democrats on the debt-ceiling issue before any real shots are fired.
“To hold out and say we won’t agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a Balanced Budget Amendment to the constitution. It’s unfair, it’s bizarre,” McCain railed on the Senate floor, “And maybe some people have only been in this body for six or seven months or so really believe that. Others know better.”
Many of the most conservative members of the House have said they will not vote for any debt ceiling increase that does not include a Balanced Budget Amendment and deeper spending cuts. Similarly, some conservatives Republicans in the Senate have said the same.
McCain called this “amazing,” foolish” and “deceiving” that some members believe that this can happen, now with only 6 days left until the nation defaults on its debts with the August 2 deadline for action looming.
“To somehow think or tell our citizens that if we have enough debate and amendment here in the Senate in the short term in the next six days that we will pass a balanced budget amendment to the constitution is unfair to our constituents,” McCain said.
McCain was busy touting Boehner’s new plan, which cuts all of $1 billion from the 2012 budget and will not prevent the rating agencies from downgrading America’s debt. Perhaps that’s the best plan the country can get, but it’s hardly a more reasonable suggestion than one which would require a balanced budget that McCain says he’s for.
The fact is that we don’t just have six days until the nation defaults on its debts, and if McCain believes that he’s as gullible a moron as he appeared during his flaccid presidential campaign. The federal government can pay interest on its debts forever with the money coming into the treasury.
And rather than bash those people who have decided that with a $14.5 trillion national debt, a figure equal or larger than the country’s GDP, it’s time to take a stand against borrowing more than 40 cents out of every dollar the government spends, maybe McCain should attempt to offer a solution to the problem he sees. If it will take more time than six days to pass a balanced budget, then maybe he ought to offer a $300 billion debt increase set off against a few cuts his staff surely has in a file somewhere he could offer, and say that’s a plan which might bridge the way to a balanced budget amendment vote.
No. Instead he trashes his own party and proves why he ran the campaign which lost to Obama three years ago.
It’s a shame this man didn’t retire after he lost that race rather than run for re-election last year. He’s long been one of the dimmer bulbs the Republicans have on Capitol Hill, and today’s misfire gave another example of why he’s practically useless to the party’s cause.