Some Squawk, But Debt Ceiling Budget Fight Goes Just the Way Rightbloggers Want It

tomt200.jpgLast week the Congressional fight over America's debt ceiling became a full-blown hostage situation, with Republicans demanding, in exchange for what has been during previous Administrations a pro-forma procedure, major budget concessions from Democrats -- and getting them.

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.

reidboehner.jpg
Heads you win, tails I lose.
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."

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.

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16 comments
gocart mozart
gocart mozart

I wrote a little parody song to the tune of "Born in the U.S.A." about the plight of progressive house members.  Click my name if you want to see all the lyrics.

Democrat in the U.S. House, I'm just a Democrat in the U.S House.I'm just a Democrat in the U.S. House, Democrat in the U.S. House.

Got in a little debt ceiling jamThey put a pea shooter in my handSent me off to congress landTo go fight the tea bag man

Democrat in the U.S. House . . .

Come back home to the Dem infirmaryAnd Nancy said son if it was up to meWent down to see the President manHe said son, don't you understand

Epac
Epac

I have to admit, I'm very disappointed in Obama. He needs to grow a set. You can't let the inmates run the asylum, which is exactly what's happening w/ the Teabaggers.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

You are mistaken if you believe Obama was forced into making a bad deal. He wanted this.

The Republicans, Speaker Boehner or Majority Leader Cantor, did not call for Social Security cuts in the budget deal. The president of the United States called for that,” Rep. John Conyers (D-Detroit) said at a news conference held by the Out of Poverty Caucus, which he co-chairs. ~

 

Consumer Unit 5012
Consumer Unit 5012

Unfortunately, the inmates have the majority vote, and somehow, the Democrats keep thinking the Republicans will negotiate in good faith THIS time, unlike every previous time since...what, 1994, maybe?

Al Swearengen
Al Swearengen

We live in a hostageocracy, not a democracy.  Republicans take hostages (the unemployed, the debt ceiling) to take what they can't get through the ballot box.  Works wonders for them, the scummy fuckers.

Guest
Guest

Jimmy Carter was actually a pretty decent president, if you ignore the spin from the Right. He had some good ideas, but was hamstrung by an indifferent Congress. Not totally unlike what we have now. 

I appreciate everybody's frustration, but the vast majority of your anger should be directed towards the Right, and the people who fund them.

Consumer Unit 5012
Consumer Unit 5012

Yep.  Seems like all the Republicans have to do to get their way every time is threaten to strangle more kittens.

I've said it before about Obama:  We needed FDR, and we got Jimmy Carter.

Brian Schlosser
Brian Schlosser

Funny how not having the majority vote during large parts of his two terms never stopped W from essentially doing anything he damn well pleased.

Democrats on the hill are gutless wusses. I might despise the GOP for what they stand for and do, but I have to respect their ability to get things done on their terms.

Guest
Guest

Actually Bush did not do 'anything he damn well pleased'. You can see a definite dropoff in his 'acomplishments' starting with his second term, and most especially after 2006, when Democrats took control of the House and Senate.

Michelle Shaniqua
Michelle Shaniqua

President Obama failed. When will he realize that you cannot 'tweet' your way through a presidency?

rmgosselin
rmgosselin

The Tea Party "might just as well have formed a separate third party and gone on to oblivion." Isn't that what they've done?

Freshly Squeezed Cynic
Freshly Squeezed Cynic

"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.""We will, instead, force a cold bucket of shit on everyone else."

Substance McGravitas
Substance McGravitas

What may look to you like stasis, not to say paralysis, looked like victory to Pejman Yousefzadeh. "The Boehner bill was consequential because its passage shows that however difficult the fight, at the end of the day, Speaker Boehner was the master of his caucus," he wrote.

I'm mastering my caucus right now.

David in NYC
David in NYC

Yeah, well, what about your domain?  Huh?

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©
ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®©

Obama has wanted to cut Social Security for much longer than this phony-baloney debt crisis existed.  Why else did he create a deficit commission with Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles as co-chairs?

Two phrases are critical to understanding what just happened: shock doctrine and manufacturing consent.

And one more:  President Obama is destroying the Democratic party.~

R. Porrofatto
R. Porrofatto

The GOP radicals may threaten to blow up the economy, but it's the rank and file Tea Partiers and species of imbecile known as Reagan Democrats who are the suicide bombers eager to put on their Koch-supplied freedom vests and pull the fuse whenever Eric Cantor gives the signal. (Gambino family members must be so awed at this easy shakedown they're imagining a day when all they have to do is mail self-addressed envelopes to Bensonhurst Pork Stores.)

But this isn't so much a triumph for the GOP and their anti-government Medicare recipients as it is for the special brand of Fuck You Libertarianism funded by Koch, Scaife, Murdoch, et al, and organized by such as Dick Armey's Freedomworks, fake grassroots at its most fake brought to you by a pioneer in the electoral benefits of Man Tan long before Bohner turned orange, and a more amoral piece of shit would be hard to find. The only reason the extortion works so well is that we have a Democratic Party from the top down so beholden to their own corporate money tits that they are unwilling and unable to fight in the trenches, and we effectively end up with government dictated by Grover Norquist and Rush Limbaugh, with Sean Hannity as Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Moron Clown.

There was a time when craven capitulation was not the obvious path:Frank Rich: When wolves of Murdoch’s ingenuity and the Kochs’ stealth have been at the door of our democracy in the past, Democrats have fought back fiercely. Franklin Roosevelt’s triumphant 1936 re-election campaign pummeled the Liberty League as a Republican ally eager to “squeeze the worker dry in his old age and cast him like an orange rind into the refuse pail.” When John Kennedy’s patriotism was assailed by Birchers calling for impeachment, he gave a major speech denouncing their “crusades of suspicion.”

And Obama? So far, sadly, this question answers itself.

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