Steve Bell April 2nd, 2011 at 1:56 am 24 Comments
Please, sovaldi stop.
Whether it is Bruce Bartlett admonishing Republican Senators who have co-sponsored the Balanced Budget Amendment or Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex) refusing to vote for the GOP “plan” debated on the House floor Friday, patient the small crack among Congressional Republicans that appeared during debate on the sixth iteration of the Continuing Resolution now threatens to become a chasm.
In his latest blog post, prostate Bartlett (a true blue conservative for decades) simply notes that “every Senator cosponsoring this POS should be ashamed of themselves.” With my roots among the common man, I suspect I know what “POS” means and it is not “Point of Sale.” The POS is the balanced budget amendment cosponsored by all 47 Republican Senators.
Rep. Gohmert, a fourth-termer who received his J.D. from Baylor, contended that it was Democrats who got the nation into the debt crisis, and “we do need to cut spending,” but the bill on the House floor is “unconstitutional” and he would not violate his conscience by voting for it. Apparently the Baptist ethic of telling the truth infuses Rep. Gohmert, whom, it must be noted, actually spoke at a Tea Party rally at the on Capitol Hill yesterday.
Why are Republicans doing this to themselves?
If the GOP “true believers” continue to substitute nonsense for substance, they will do exactly the opposite of what they have set out to do. Eventually, they will isolate themselves, force the Republican leadership to make common cause with the moderate and conservative Democrats in both Chambers, and allow a true bi-partisan centrist landscape to develop in Congress.
That result—a true example of unintended consequences—would be good for the country and good for fiscal policy. Such a center, moving on its own without official endorsement of the leadership of either party or body, might actually begin to regain trust and credibility among American voters.
Two things have become apparent in this long folly we call “the great Continuing Resolution debate.”
First, too many new members of the House GOP caucus simply don’t know where federal spending really goes. They, like many of their constituents, apparently believe that 25 per cent of the budget goes to foreign aid and cutting that 25 per cent and getting rid of “waste, fraud and abuse” will solve the growing debt crisis. That may account for the recent House GOP study camp on the federal budget provided to the caucus. Imagine their horror when they realized that the vast majority of spending goes to Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, other pensions, payments on the public debt, and farm programs! “Oh, no, now what?”
Second, somehow these new members must think that the 2010 election turnout model will prevail in 2012. That is, young people and minorities will continue to stay home and independents will remain rented by the Republican Party. Somebody needs to sit down and carefully show the vast differences in the composition of Presidential year and non-Presidential year electorates. While the far right can distort GOP primaries (and nominate Republicans unable to win vulnerable Democratic Senate seats such as those in Nevada, Colorado, and Delaware in 2010), it will lose much of its sway in the general election in 2012. And independents are notoriously fickle.
Perhaps one should add a third unintended consequence: the Tea Party and its adherents in Congress risk losing seats in the House in 2012, not winning control of the Senate, and allowing President Obama to continue being President Obama in 2013.
One irony. Republican House members read the Constitution aloud on the House floor as almost their first act of the 112th Congress. Senate Republicans extol the virtues of a strict reading of the Constitution. Then isn’t it peculiar that this week House Republicans concocted a clearly unconstitutional piece of legislation to support and Senate Republicans decided that the present Constitution needs to be amended?
The need to raise the federal debt ceiling nears. This latest descent into silliness cannot make global bond market participants optimistic that Congress will handle the challenge with courage and grace.