Friday, July 29, 2011
The Tea Party is Making Obama Look Good
By Alan Caruba
"There are plenty of ways out of this mess, but we are almost out of time," said President Obama on Friday morning. It only took from his Monday address to Friday’s to make Obama look good and, for that, we can thank the intransigent Tea Party element of the Republican Party.
When presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann (R-MN) says she will never vote to raise the debt ceiling, she is being unrealistic because the “ceiling” simply allows the nation to continue borrowing to meet its massive financial obligations. The time for cutting spending lies ahead and the Tea Party can play a role in that, but right now the United States of America is looking default in the eye and risking a downgrade of our historic AAA credit rating.
It is ironic that the author of much of the nation’s $14.3 trillion debt, achieved over three short years in office, can talk about the Republicans resisting Speaker John Boehner’s proposed legislation and correctly say they are risking “taking down the nation.”
A nation this sharply divided between Republicans and Democrats has gone to the mat at the eleventh hour far too many times whether it was TARP or Obamacare. The 2010 elections that gave power to the GOP in the House was a good step in the right direction insofar as it curbed Obama’s efforts to spend the nation out of the deep financial hole created over decades. It gave, however, majority power to only one element of Congress, the House, leaving the Senate in the hands of Democrats. There can be no change in the White House until 2012.
You don’t, however, cure the spending built into the nation’s budget, but putting its credit rating in jeopardy or giving President Obama the opportunity to scare senior citizens, veterans, contractors and everyone else with threats their checks are not going to be in the mail. That’s a recipe for anarchy.
Up to now the Republicans have made a succession of very good moves—all of which have been rejected by President Obama. The plan put forth by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) provided for $6.3 trillion in spending cuts in the first ten years. It will take ten years to winnow a debt that has been building since the introduction of “entitlement” programs in the 1930s and 1960s.
As Peter Ferrara who has conservative credentials as long as your arm wrote in The American Spectator, the Ryan plan would “drive federal spending to 15% of GDP, well below the postwar historical average of 20%. Ryan’s budget included tax reform to get the economy booming again, with a 25% top income-tax rate for incomes over $100.000 a year, and a 10% rate for incomes below that.”
Lest we forget, noted Ferrara, “the first act of the new GOP House majority was to vote to repeal Obamacare. That means $1 trillion in spending cuts, and $500 billion in tax cuts, during the first ten years alone, as scored by the CBO.”
The Tea Partiers in the House do not want to take yes for an answer when it comes to the gains that can be secured if the debt ceiling is raised and the 2012 elections promise to put a GOP candidate into the Oval Office and capture power in the Senate. They can have it all if they support Speaker Boehner.
As Wall Street Journal columnist, Kimberly A. Strassel noted Friday morning, referring to Speaker Boehner’s prolonged negotiations with President Obama, “Instead he realized that this White House had no intention of agreeing to serious debt reduction and that it cared primarily about tax hikes. His decision to call off the talks earned him some catcalls, but it reset the political dynamic.”
That was evident in President Obama’s Monday primetime address to the nation that was universally seen as offering no plan and no leadership. By Friday morning the dynamic had changed as Speaker Boehner became the man unable to achieve a resolution to the current crisis; all because Tea Party dead-enders could not see their way clear to a compromise.
This is precisely why the President is effectively beating up the Republicans in Congress.
As Strossel correctly noted of Speaker Boehner and the House Tea Partiers, “What he did do this week is position his party to take credit for a bill that averts a crisis, cuts more spending than any Democrat thought possible, and exposes the White House’s insincerity on the deficit and economic prosperity. The Republicans who yesterday undermined (the) bill now bear sole responsibility for whatever political fallout comes next.”
If that is four more years of President Obama, it will be because Tea Partiers refused to compromise, to be realistic, and to understand that you don’t turn around decades of bad social legislation in a day.
They now have a weekend left to see the light or take down the Republican Party and the nation.
© Alan Caruba, 2011