Monday, April 11, 2011

Thoughts on the Budget Deal

At 11:45 on Friday night it was announced that a deal had been struck between Democrats and Republicans to fund the Federal Government through October 1, 2011.  The deal cuts $38 billion from the current fiscal year budget.  When combined with the $10 billion previously cut, the GOP succeeded in cutting about $13 billion short of their stated goal of cutting $100 billion over the fiscal year, pro-rated to $61 billion. 

In fairness, the House of Representatives did also pass a three week continuing resolution to fund the government and extend the discussions for three further weeks which the Senate did not take up for a vote, instead allowing it to die.  Hypothetically we could give the GOP credit for cutting $60 billion with attempt included.  I’m not going to do that, largely because the stated goal was a grand total of $61 billion in actual cuts, not attempted ones.  Those of you who follow me on Twitter and who read this blog also know that I am slow to hit the panic button, so  I’m not going to do that either.  Acting with my usual even temperament, I’m going to fall somewhere between blowing my top (as many of my fellow Tea Party Patriots are doing) and the irritating lauding of “working together to get things done” (as the wishy-washy “Moderates” are doing).

So here’s my take on the situation:  Certain Republicans failed us, certain Republicans fulfilled their promises, and there are a few who most likely belong in one of those groups, but at this moment cannot be ascertained.  The Establishment Republicans wanted to cave.  They wanted to play the lame compromise game that is never a winner for us.  (1)  The same Republicans who continually believe that if they give enough concessions to the Democrats when Republicans are in power, when the Democrats inevitably return to power they will extend the same courtesy.  (Pssst…they won’t.  I promise you that.)  The Tea Party, lead by Michelle Bachmann in the House and Rand Paul in the Senate, stood strong against the Establishment types and did achieve a good amount.  We’ll discuss the third group later.

The usual establishment Republicans failed us again.  If you’re shocked, I’ve got some ocean-front property in Idaho that I can sell you for a rock-bottom price.   (For those of you from Palm Beach County, FL, Idaho is land locked.)  There are some of those very people who are going to need us in the Tea Party to put up a primary challenge in 2012.   As far as many of these RINO Republicans are concerned, I agree completely (I’m looking at you, Olympia Snowe).  We must replace these people in the GOP with real Conservatives.
Then we come to the group of Republicans who legitimately deserve credit: the Tea Party.  I’ve said here and said frequently on Twitter, we need to keep separate scorecards for the Tea Party and the Establishment Republicans.  I believe quite firmly that if it wasn’t for Michelle Bachmann and others, the Establishment types would have caved for far less.  Likely, they’d have split the difference between the GOP number of $61 billion and the Democrat number of $6 billion, and that pro-rated to include the $10 billion already cut.   (That’s a total of $33 billion in cuts, for those of you from Palm Beach, pro-rated to $23 billion in cuts in the final continuing resolution.)  We got a good bit more than that.  Thank the Tea Party for it.

Then there’s that third group, the gray area.  I put John Boehner in that category.  I know a lot of you are blasting Speaker Boehner here and wanting to immediately include him in the list of Republicans that need to face a Tea Party primary challenge.  I’m not going to join you just yet.  Remember, I don’t hit the panic button easily.  Not with politics, not with my sports teams (which can be very tough considering I root for the New York Mets and the Buffalo Sabres).  It takes more than the appearance of flaking to cause me to consider the cause lost.  I’ve seen the Twitter wire in the past 24 hours, and I know that many of my fellow Tea Party Patriots are furious with Boehner for not getting at least $61 billion in cuts to the 2011 budget.  The time may yet come when I join the anger at Boehner and join the call to replace him.  It’s just not going to happen today, because I haven’t seen enough to make a legitimate decision either way.  We don’t know what happened behind closed doors.  Perhaps when we do learn what happened behind closed doors it will incriminate Boehner.  Then again, it might not.  Again, I’m not defending Boehner, I’m just reserving judgment until I know more.

What we need to remember is the Tea Party has had our back since they took office, and they had our back in the budget battle.   They’ve fought for precisely what they said they would fight for. We also have Establishment Republicans still trying to play the losing compromise game.  The Tea Party can’t do it alone (yet).  

While we’re at it, not all the Tea Party Republicans were elected in 2010 either.  Michelle Bachmann is the obvious person to note (she was elected in 2008).  Paul Ryan also belongs in that camp.  His $4 trillion in cuts over ten years is a sign of what REALLY needs to be done to put our nation on the path to fiscal solvency.  Should the Tea Party have to primary Boehner, and I’m not yet saying that, I think Ryan would be a solid option for Speaker of the House in 2012.  

The Tea Party fight didn’t end in 2012.  I’m on record as saying the third party option is a quick route to get four more years of Obama in 2012.  I’ve said regularly that the best option is for the Tea Party to fight and fight and fight to take over the Republican Party.  In two more elections, if we stay diligent, we will become the Republican Party.  I won’t stop saying this until people hear me: the last 3rd Party to make it on the national stage WAS the Republican Party and the candidate was named Lincoln.  Furthermore, the Tea Party taking over the GOP is not a matter of changing the Republican Party as much as it is a matter of us returning the GOP to its original roots. (2) 

This fight is only the beginning.  You saw the absolute demagoguery perpetrated by the Democratic Party.  Senior citizens were going to be denied their Meals on Wheels dinner because of the GOP’s “draconian” cuts (just ask Nancy Pelosi).   Never mind that Meals on Wheels funding wasn’t part of the cuts, when has Nancy Pelosi ever let facts get in the way of slander.  (Before you “Moderates” get started, no, the Republican Party does not play that game.  It’s a Liberal lie that all politicians engage in that sort of rhetoric.)  Just wait to see what the Democrats break out when trillions of dollars go on the table.  Just you wait.  I suspect we’re still going to see a government shutdown.  As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to learn that’s why Boehner and the GOP leadership decided to compromise here…so we could use the government shutdown card over trillions in cuts, not over billions.

In conclusion, remember individually who did what in this fight.  Remember the RINOs who were far too quick to compromise.  Remember the Tea Party who fought until the end.  We need to replace the former and support the latter.  Finally, I urge you not to jump off the Brooklyn Bridge just yet (don’t assume all is well either).  Instead, I vote for a stance of wait and see.  The time may come to get angry, and if that anger is reached slowly and with consideration, then it will be righteous.  Until then, for Heaven’s sake, please take a deep breath and relax.  Defending freedom isn’t easy.  It also shouldn’t be rash.  Read the Declaration of Independence.  It requires calculated research and time.  The time for anger may yet come, but it is not now. 


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