Since we last checked in with our heroes: Speaker Boehner, faced with his own proposal going down to defeat in the chamber he (ostensibly) leads, capitulated—he added a balanced budget provision to his plan for lowering government spending, reducing debt and raising the federal debt ceiling, to placate enough members to get the bill passed. It worked; and as expected, and warned, the Senate rejected the plan; now Majority Leader Reid is trying to persuade Senate Republicans to let his plan come to a vote. [UPDATE 3:03 pm: The House rejected Reid’s plan before the Senate had a chance to vote on it.]
The Wall Street Journal editorial page wants Republicans to accept a plan now, and claim a victory, even if it’s one that doesn’t solve all the nation’s economic problems once and for ever. (Why didn’t I think of that?) An economy struggling to recover from recession doesn’t need the government to suddenly stop making some of its payments—and you can take comfort in knowing, there is a plan for who gets paid first in the event the debt ceiling is not raised by the deadline next Tuesday…the bureaucratic imperative prevails.
I still choose to believe that Congress may bring us to the edge of default but reason will prevail and the debt ceiling will be raised to prevent a default…that puts me in the company of an American conservative icon:
Thanks to David Horsey, seattlepi.com and Hearst Newspapers…click the cartoon to read Horsey’s commentary:
If it were not for their powerful recklessness, I would simply get a good laugh out of the alarmists on the right who see socialism in any tilt toward moderation in our politics.
To ensure that his country does not follow Greece into a bottomless hole of debt, Tory Prime Minister David Cameron has implemented a budget balancing formula of three-to-one – that is, three parts spending cuts to one part revenue increases. These austerity measures have, not surprisingly, provoked rioting among leftists and students. Nobody in Europe would be silly enough to call this socialism.
Yet, when President Barack Obama proposes the same formula to rein in the debt in the United States, a mental riot goes off in the heads of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, the House Republican Caucus, the Tea Party and all the others who are somehow convinced Obama wants to turn America into Sweden.
Consumed by their fear of phantom socialists, these folks see politics in stark, black-and-white terms. If you are not with ’em, you’re agin’ ’em and even the most staunch conservative risks charges of treason if he shows a willingness to bargain with the other side.
Like ultra-conservatives of past decades, today’s reactionaries have scared themselves silly by demonizing their opponents: every liberal hates America, every Democrat is a socialist, every moderate is a dupe, every compromise is a pact with the devil. What is new is that this mindset now dominates the majority caucus in the United States House of Representatives. And because of that, there very well could be no deal to raise the debt ceiling, unless the president and the Senate choose to grant the militants everything they want.
…to confuse the centrist economic policies of Barack Obama with socialism is as absurd as calling a conservative like Tom Coburn a RINO – Republican In Name Only. As clean cut, moral and upstanding as my fellow citizens on the right may be, I have to say they have become unhinged from economic and political reality and, in their delusion, they are about to take us all over a cliff.
In a Newsweek interview, Tom Coburn, a guy I disagree with about most things, summed it up frightening well:
“We’ve never been in this territory before. I mean, if we handle this wrong, we’re near the end of our republic as we know it.”