Skip to comments.A Republican Strategy at Last? The GOP will put the spotlight on feckless Senate Democrats.
Posted on 01/20/2013 10:39:55 PM PST by neverdem
Have House Republicans come up with a winning strategy on the debt ceiling and spending cuts? Or at least a viable one? Maybe so.
They certainly need the latter, if not the former. Barack Obama is up in the polls since the election, as most reelected presidents have been. The most recent NBC/Wall Street Journal poll shows him with 52 percent approval and 44 percent disapproval. Other polls have similar results.
In contrast, the NBC/WSJ poll reports that only 26 percent have positive feelings about the Republican party and 51 percent have negative feelings. Toward Speaker John Boehner only 18 percent have positive feelings and 37 percent have negative feelings.
It’s usually true that groups get lower ratings than individuals, and congressional leaders get lower ratings than presidents. Still, these results represent a pretty negative verdict on House Republicans’ attempts to wrestle Obama into supporting their preferred fiscal policies.
Defections by enough House Republicans to defeat Boehner’s Plan B approach to the fiscal cliff ended up producing a compromise considerably less to their liking. The agreement reached by Vice President Joe Biden and Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell did limit effective tax increases to those with incomes over $400,000.
But it also gave Democrats something they wanted — a permanent fix to the Alternative Minimum Tax, which threatened to engulf high-earning Democratic voters in high-tax states such as New York, New Jersey, and California. Republicans used to dangle a one-year AMT fix as a negotiating chip in fiscal battles. Now they can’t.
House Republicans seem to be emerging from their Williamsburg retreat with a united approach to the debt-ceiling issue, however: Raise the debt ceiling for three months and couple it with a cutoff of congressional pay if the Democratic-majority Senate fails to pass a budget, as it has for the last three years.
This is similar to the approached advocated by former Bush budget negotiator Keith Hennessey: Give Democrats an alternative between short-term debt limit increases with no immediate spending cuts and a long-term increase with serious spending cuts.
Senate Democrats are a more attractive target than the president. The NBC/WSJ poll shows only 16 percent with positive feelings toward Majority Leader Harry Reid and 28 percent with negative feelings.
Fully 36 percent have no view, significantly more than the 22 percent with no view about Boehner. That leaves plenty of room to drive Reid’s negatives up. The no-budget, no-pay provision is perhaps a gimmick, but it may strike a chord with voters.
And it may help united the 234 House Republicans, 43 percent of whom were first elected in 2010 or 2012. Most share the views and impulses of the tea-party movement and are determined to cut government spending.
The tea-party movement, like the peace movement four decades before, injected many new people into an old party. Tea-party voters, like peacenik voters, tend to prefer the purest candidates in primaries, and tea-party congressmen, like peacenik congressmen, tend to take confrontational and purist stands on issues.
But just as peacenik Democrats learned that the public will not tolerate cutting off defense spending when troops are in the field, so tea-party Republicans seem to be learning that the public won’t tolerate defaulting on the national debt.
They feel quite differently about spending cuts. A poll by the Republican Tarrance Group for the Public Notice group showed 74 percent agreeing that the federal government spends too much and rejecting Obama’s notion that “we don’t have a spending problem.”
So far this year the spotlight has been on divisions among Republicans. Twice Boehner has brought to the floor bills opposed by most House Republicans — the fiscal-cliff deal and the Sandy appropriation.
That violates former Speaker Dennis Hastert’s rule never to schedule a bill opposed by a majority of the majority party. But Hastert served for only two years with a Democratic president, at a time when we had budget surpluses.
If Boehner can get a Republican majority for a short-term debt-limit increase, the spotlight falls on Harry Reid and Senate Democrats. Reid has been blocking budgets because he can’t get a majority of 50 Democrats.
House Republicans are learning they can’t govern from just one house of Congress. But they can shine the spotlight on Senate and White House Democrats’ inability or unwillingness to govern.
— Michael Barone is senior political analyst for the Washington Examiner. © 2013 The Washington Examiner
Why telegraph strategy to your opponents?
Why telegraph Pretend strategy to your opponents?
...surrender is a strategy...
Thanks for the link.
Stupidity is not a strategy! Making the same mistakes repeatedly isn't smart. Rats took control of the Congress in 2006 and expanded their majorities in 2008 by running nominees posing as fiscal conservatives, prolife, pro Second Amendment, etc. as needed where needed. Senate rats have gotten a free ride.
I didn’t say I approved of surrender.
I was sarcastically noting that surrender is a strategy often offered by the GOP and I doubt anything is going to change any time soon.
This is crap. Boehner and company are feckless, useless and worse than Dems.
If they can’t do what we put them there for in 2010 then they should lose in 2014.
I’m done with them.
Force the Democrats to lead. As long as the Republicans keep proposing plans, the Democrats can keep attacking. Why Boehner or the Republicans haven’t thought of this before is beyond comprehension. The real question is whether they’ll follow through or if they’ll come up with another plan.
They should all be in jail.
What new strategy? The GOP vows not to swallow?
TAXERS for ALL but THEMSELVES:
"GOP? You are such suckers.
WE (and our families) are AND WILL BE
forever free of ObamaCARE, DeathPANELS,
and the Global Redistrution TAX, dhimmis."
This is an important point. The Senate is being let off the hook for its inaction. The Dem Senators have completely abandoned even pretending to do anything - unless it coincides with the wishes of The Won. And while the Senate GOP is powerless to actually get anything through the Senate, they should certainly be making a lot of noise and calling attention to the Dems' inaction and even Obama-instilled fear of acting.
It's also faintly possible that even some Dem Senators are beginning to get a little sick of the situation. If nothing else, they should be offended by the dictatorial idiot in the WH who makes it clear that he doesn't think he needs the slightest fiction of legislative process to be able to do exactly as he wishes. If I were a duly elected Senator, I'd be sort of annoyed at seeing my job, no matter how largely fictional and ceremonial, blatantly ignored by a president who seems to believe the executive is all.
The GOP should start sowing some dissent.
Barone should know better than this. The Federal Government takes in more than enough money to meet the interest on the debt, which prevents default by definition. There's also enough to fund defense, which is enumerated by the Constitution. The rest should be prioritized.
What I'm seeing here, though, is a start. When the Republican Party actually follows through, and is able to convince me that it's actually serious about CUTTING spending -- not merely slowing down the rate of increase -- I'd be willing to consider the notion that we may have a two-party system in Washington.
“Feckless” Democrats, the people just reelected them, and the GOP is cowardly beyond belief, as the public seems to have soured eternally on the GOP. People who expect anything of Boehner and McC will be fooled again.
All the gop is doing is slowing things down. And not very much. They should all start voting present and watch the dems and media scream. Give them everything they want. They’re getting what they want anyway. Stop pretending to be an opposition party. As long as the gop continues to pretend to be fighting, they’ll continue to be blamed.