Some Squawk, But Debt Ceiling Budget Fight Goes Just the Way Rightbloggers Want It
At this writing, there seems to be a $1 trillion+/decade deal -- though the details are fuzzy, perhaps purposefully so.
As some conservatives admitted early in this process, the GOP has been scoring a major pot with an awfully weak hand. But how could they miss? While the Democrats were compromising with the Republicans, the Republicans were "compromising" with their Tea Party constituents. In other words, both parties were going right.
The early versions of legislation endorsed by Speaker John Boehner, conservative as they were, drew the ire of Tea Party VIPs like Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation, who actually called for Boehner's ouster. "Tea Party Activists Revolt Against Boehner Amid Debt Crisis," cried Fox News. "Tea Party Wants Boehner, Obama Fired," said US News & World Report. "Tea Party: Cut, cap and balance - not compromise," reported the Sacramento Bee. Etc.
A number of mainstream conservatives played good cop, suggesting the tea people get in line with Boehner.
Some were gentle about it. While expressing his own "concerns," Hugh Hewitt said that "the Speaker should announce the three members of the supercommittee he would appoint" to order cuts as part of his plan, and if these worthies were acceptable to Hugh Hewitt, "it would be a whole lot easier to stomach than if the Speaker even puts one appropriator on it."
Heads you win, tails I lose.
Others took more of a tough-love approach."There would not be a United States of America today," said Thomas Sowell to the mutineers, "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."
In case the guys in tricorners weren't satisfied with this promised annihilation of their enemy down the road, Sowell spelled it out: "if the tea party movement within the Republican Party becomes just a rule-or-ruin minority, then they might just as well have formed a separate third party and gone on to oblivion."
Quin Hillyer of The American Spectator listed a bunch of conservative columnists who supported the Boehner Plan, including "Tea Party favorite Rep. Allen West" and "The Wall Street Journal editorial page," along with "83 percent of respondents to a National Review Online poll."
"Simply put, anything which increases Obama's chances of reelection will more than offset any additional cuts to be gained beyond the Boehner plan," said William Jacobson of Legal Insurrection, echoing the sentiments of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. While Jacobson admitted the plan was "far from perfect," he told his fellow conservatives to "keep in mind the end game."
"To vote against John Boehner on the House floor this week in the biggest showdown of the current Congress is to choose to vote with Nancy Pelosi," said William Kristol. "To vote against Boehner is to choose to support Barack Obama." "If Republicans come out of this battle with no new taxes and a plan that reduces the debt as much as the debt limit is increased," said Jim Hoft of Gateway Pundit, "then it is a win for conservatives and the tea party."
But the blood-and-thunder types still didn't show much flexibility on the matter. Slamming "so-called Tea Party Republicans like Allen West," J.J. Jackson of Liberty Reborn said. "Now is the time to call if you haven't yet and tell the Republicans to vote no on Boehner's boner of a plan."
When John McCain denounced the radicals as "Tea Party hobbits," Tea Party champions like Rand Paul and Sharron Angle denounced the former GOP Presidential candidate right back. Rush Limbaugh announced himself a supporter of "the Tea Party types, the real movement conservatives -- we are not stupid, and we're not gonna buy a bucket of spit just because it's warm."
You wouldn't think the GOP needed to stroke the Tea Party any more than they already have -- especially since, their usefulness as a 2010 electoral tool having been served, they seem to be losing the favor of ordinary citizens and receding into the political wilderness.
Nonetheless, to please them Boehner rewrote his plan to include a Balanced Budget Amendment -- rather a drastic move for what's essentially an ordinary budget bill.