December 13, 2012

Washington, D.C., December 2012. Holiday trees in thousands of government buildings and offices in the nation’s capital (you can’t call them Christmas trees anymore at the risk of offending every possible fringe constituent!) burn brightly as the days grow ever shorter and darker. Democrats, progressives, and liberals everywhere continue to bask gleefully in celebration of Barack Obama’s reelection, and the mainstream media and the cable folks on MSNBC and CNN who played such a large role in making that happen crow in their success. Activists and lobbyists for every liberal and progressive cause known to mankind and the Obama administration (one in the same) plot just how far they can take their far-left agendas in a second Obama term before people actually take notice of their ultimate intent.

Yes, these are salads days indeed for the Democrats and the liberal left, and, frankly, I can’t blame them. Even while their made man won with the lowest margin of an incumbent president in an election, one where where a few hundred thousand votes across a dozen or so precincts across the country could have flipped it the other way, yet claims he has a mandate from the American people to raise taxes and basically do whatever he wants, more importantly, they take glee knowing that on the other side Republicans are in total disarray and, through a combination of bad messaging, party infighting, and incompetent leadership, seemingly dissolving before their very eyes.

These are dark days for the national GOP. And, given the vast disconnect between the Washington party insiders and tea-party conservatives (the latter largely responsible for putting putting the House back in power via the 2010 midterms), I don’t see anything good coming any time soon. The Washington power-brokers see conservatives and tea-party activists as radical neophytes who don’t understand the way Washington works. Conservatives and tea-party activists see Washington as a bloated, incompetent, inefficent, and corrupt cesspool of power and graft that no longer has either the country’s future or its best interests at heart. One side seeks to concentrate and increase power and influence in the nation’s capital, the other believes in the cause of liberty and personal freedom, and the responsibilities that go along with such.

Making matters worse for the GOP, rather than follow up their November win with concrete proposals to deal with the nation’s upcoming “fiscal cliff” and compromise on legislation that would deal not just with the country’s languishing economy and its long-term fiscal health, President Obama and the Democratic leadership seem interested only in grinding Republicans into the dust. As Rich Lowry has so ably written:

Obama just won an election in which pretty much his only concrete agenda item was a tax increase on the rich, although the casual listener might have thought he was only talking about taxing millionaires and billionaires. Tax increases on the rich poll well, while the Republican counterdemands — entitlement cuts — don’t.

If nothing happens, tax increases go up for everyone, and all the polls show that the public is primed to blame the Republicans. That means that the president and the media will be plowing fertile ground when they paint Boehner and company as hideous extremists who hate the middle class if all rates go up at the end of the year.

So if the White House doesn’t need a deal, why would it want one? Because it is secretly spoiling to cut entitlement spending? Because Obama wakes up every morning wondering how he can cut the deficit today? Because weeks after sweeping to re-election, he is brimming over with modesty?

Obama loves to praise himself in public for his alleged courage in private discussing possible entitlement changes with Boehner during the fight over the debt ceiling. But he never says specifically what these changes were, let alone makes the case for them. He is always in favor of tough choices — in theory.

Never mind the fact that, as the esteemed Michael Barone notes, while raising taxes on the wealthy might score political points with a liberal/progressive mindset and party faithful steeped in the philosophies of class warfare, it does nothing to address the looming crises surrounding every entitlement program known to the federal government. The country is broke, and going more broke every day. The problem isn’t a lack of tax revenue to fund the wants and needs of Americans and the federal government (two very different constituencies!), but one of spending and the government at all levels living far above the country’s needs to support financially.

Of course you don’t hear that from the Republican establishment in Washington, nor will you ever, because that’s just not the way it’s done there. Not even the most rabid tea party activist (well, there may be a few) is saying eliminate Washington altogether – that genie has long since left the bottle. There are plenty of functions a centralized federal government plays and has to continue to play, but this idea that you can’t cut anything by introducing means testing into entitlement programs, eliminating wasteful programs and departments, and most importantly, make a sensible and reasonable argument to the American people why they’re much better off when the government isn’t creating greater dependency through new and expanded programs.

Until the Republican Party establishment gets out of the bed they willingly share with Democrats, lobbyists, and the power brokers that are only concerned with maintaining and expanding their own power there really is no reason to continue to support it, either monetarily or with votes. Speaker John Boehner should be forced out of the Speaker’s chair, RNC chairman Reince Priebus needs to step aside, and there needs to be a general housecleaning in GOP leadership at all levels. I don’t expect any of this to happen soon, however, which, when you come to think of it, is pretty pathetic given the country’s fiscal woes and its economic future.

Filed in: Politics & World Events by The Great White Shank at 09:55 | Comments (2)
  1. Both sides are playing chicken. Though it might mostly hurt Republicans short-term, it might help the country to just drive right over that fiscal cliff. The Republicans preach spending cuts and balanced budgets. The Democrats preach higher taxes and balanced budgets. That will bring both about. I think the shock to the system would do some good.

    Comment by Rob — December 13, 2012 @ 10:48 am

  2. Completely agree with that, Rob. Would be the best thing for everyone. Might be some short-term pain but in the long run it will make people figure out what is important and what is not, what to keep and what to throw away.

    I just wish the politicians would be honest and willing to just speak frankly to the floks, lay it out as it really is and stop trying to score political points. But I guess that’s why they’re called politicians and in politics to begin with.

    Comment by The Great White Shank — December 13, 2012 @ 1:09 pm

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