Skip to comments.Why the Shutdown is a Republican Victory
Posted on 10/13/2013 9:21:19 PM PDT by 2ndDivisionVet
The news from Washington is all about President Obamas impending triumph in the government shutdown/debt ceiling standoff. Boehner Blinks, declared a recent headline in The Washington Post. Republicans, explained ABCs Jonathan Karl, are working out the terms of their surrender.
If this is Republican surrender, I hope I never see Republican victory.
To understand how upside down the current media analysis is, you need to go back a couple of years. In 2011, with Republicans threatening to provoke a debt default, President Obama signed the Budget Control Act of 2011, which cut government spending by $917 billion over 10 years. The agreement also created a congressional supercommittee charged with finding additional cuts. If the committee failed to do so, cuts totaling $1.2 trillion over ten years would kick in automatically at the end of 2012, via a process called sequestration.
Traditionally in Washington, budget compromises had meant Democrats agreeing to cut domestic spending and Republicans agreeing to raise taxes. But by raising the specter of default, Republicans had changed the equation. In the Budget Control Act, taxes werent raised a dime. Democrats compromised by cutting spending and Republicans compromised by agreeing not to let America default on its debt and provoke a global financial crisis.
Not surprisingly, conservatives liked the deal more than liberals. In the House, Republicans backed it by a margin of almost three to one while Democrats split evenly. Is this the deal I would have preferred? No, Obama admitted. By contrast, House Speaker John Boehner boasted, I got 98 percent of what I wanted.
Fast forward to the beginning of this year. Despite months of negotiations, the supercommittee failed to reach an agreement, and so this March, automatic sequester cuts kicked in. (In between, Congress did raise some revenue by not extending the Bush tax cuts for individuals making over $400,000 a year). If Democrats disliked the 2011 Budget Control Act, they disliked its bastard stepchild, the sequester, even more. In his 2013 State of the Union address, Obama calls the sequester cuts: harsh and arbitrary and warned that they would devastate priorities like education, energy and medical research and cost us hundreds of thousands of jobs.
Republicans, being less supportive of federal spending on things like education, energy and medical research, were more supportive of the sequester. Indeed, as recently as last month, GOP leaders described locking in the sequester cutsvia a clean continuing resolution (CR) that extended them into 2014as a major victory. In a memo to fellow Republicans on September 6, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor boasted that by signing a CR at sequester levels, the President would be endorsing a level of spending that wipes away all the increases he and Congressional Democrats made while they were in charge and returns us to a pre-2008 level of discretionary spending.
For their part, Democrats bristled at the prospect of a clean CR. Four days after Cantors memo, the Democratic-aligned Center for American Progress warned that by extending the sequester, Republicans were trying to lock these additional spending cuts into place and create a new baseline from which future negotiations must begin. CAP added that Its easy to see why this approach would be attractive to Speaker Boehner; it is much harder to understand why any progressive or centrist would support such an approach.
Lets pause for a moment to underscore the point. In early September, a clean CRincluding sequester cutsthat funded the government into 2014 was considered a Republican victory by both the Republican House Majority Leader and Washingtons most prominent Democratic think tank. Now, just over a month later, the media is describing the exact same deal as Republican surrender.
Partly, thats because of Ted Cruz. Starting last month, as we all know, the Texas Senatorin conjunction with his fellow Tea Partiers in the Houseforced GOP leaders to abandon the very clean CR proposal they had once championed. The new Republican position became no funding for the government and no increase in the debt ceiling without the defunding (or at least delaying) of Obamacare.
Now that Republicans are backing off those demands, the press is saying theyve caved. But thats like saying that the neighborhood bully has caved because after demanding your shoes and bike, hes once again willing to accept merely your lunch money.
Most of the press is missing this because most of the press is covering the current standoff more as politics than policy. If your basic question is which party is winning? then its easy to see the Republicans are losing, since theyre the ones suffering in the polls. But the partisan balance of power and the ideological balance of power are two completely different things. The Nixon years were terrible for the Democratic Party but quite good for progressive domestic policy. The Clinton years were, in important ways, the reverse. The promise of the Obama presidency was not merely that hed bring Democrats back to power. It was that hed usher in the first era of truly progressive public policy in decades. But the survival of Obamacare notwithstanding, Obamas impending victory in the current standoff moves us further away from, not closer to, that goal.
Its not just that Obama looks likely to accept the sequester cuts as the basis for future budget negotiations. Its that while hes been trying to reopen the government and prevent a debt default, his chances of passing any significant progressive legislation have receded. Despite overwhelming public support, gun control is dead. Comprehensive immigration reform, once considered the politically easy part of Obamas second term agenda, looks unlikely. And the other items Obama trumpeted in this years state of the union addressclimate change legislation, infrastructure investment, universal preschool, voting rights protections, a boost to the minimum wagehave been largely forgotten.
Democrats keep holding out hope that yet another political defeat will break the ideological fever that grips the Republican Party and helped GOP moderates regain power. The problem, as the last few weeks have shown, is that the GOP keeps defining moderation down. For instance, the Washington GOPs plummeting public support may well boost the presidential prospects of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, just as the Gingrich Congress paved the way for the comparatively moderate George W. Bush. Like Bush, Christie is described as moderate because he has Democratic allies in his home state and because his rhetoric is not as harsh on cultural issues. But in the White House, Bushs economic policies were hardly moderate. To the contrary, from taxes to social security to regulation, he governed well to the right of Ronald Reagan. Christie likely would as well. As governor, after all, hes vetoed a hike in the minimum wage, cut the earned income tax credit, vetoed a millionaires tax three times and adopted basically the same attitude towards public sector unions as Wisconsins Scott Walker.
Yet for the next three years, the press will likely describe Christie as moderate for the same reason it now describes a clean CR as Republican surrender: Because the GOP keeps moving the ideological goalposts and the press keeps playing along.
Peter Beinart, is the editor of OpenZion.com and writes about domestic politics and foreign policy at The Daily Beast. He is also an associate professor of journalism and political science at CUNY and author of The Crisis of Zionism.
Whether he’s right or not, what bothers me is that I know 100% the Republicans in the leadership will blow it.
Peter Beinart is a hardcore leftist but at least he understands the idea that in a negotiation you start off asking for more than you are willing to settle for. Too bad people like Michael Medved, John Podhoretz, Jonah Goldberg, Charles Krauthammer and most of the Republicans in the United States Senate don’t understand that basic principle of negotiation.
Damn if your not right and that is very discouraging!
Not so sure. They got obama to cut the growth of government and drop his plan to erase the bush tax cuts for all of us.
sure the media pretends that obama was the victor in these deal. I don’t think so.
Agreed. Play hardball and when you hit them with a softball they think they’ve won. They completely forget about not getting hit by any kind of ball at all. LOL!
Is this sarcasm? If so, it is done so badly that I have no idea about what you are saying...
All I know is in the end our guys are going to blow it. their track record is clear. The leadership genuinely has no desire to repeal obamacare. They may love it’s imploding and it’s the disaster WE have all warned about, but they’ve given in on this again and again and they just do not have the guts to go up against Obama. They just hate the media hating them, and they don’t know and don’t want to deal with the “racist” label the media, obama and leftist groups will hit them with. They never have.
And with turncoats in the group like McCain and Graham, and compromisers like Ryan - who is dead to me - it ain’t going to end well for us because if anyone knows how to snatch defeat from victory, it’s this fuster cluck of GOP elite RINOS and conservative-purging leadership we have right now.
And I take no pleasure in being right about this. I am pissed I am right about this.
I am drinking his sweet, sweet tears
The comments under the article are precious.
Are the posters here who insist the R’s will fold the same ones who said the R’s would never go forward with the shutdown?
Asking for a friend.
I like this govt slowdown. I like it better every day.
Based on today's outpouring in DC, I am still encouraged, that American Patriots will take this Republic back from the brink. This writer, like his/her sniveling sycophants, are out-of-touch with the will of the People. *WE THE PEOPLE*, that's us.
Amen brother. Every day the gov't is 'shutdown' is a good day for believers in small gov't.
One of the most reliable Leftist tactics is to blame their victims of what they are doing. This is a perfect example.
The natural state is that the Federal Government increases spending and raises taxes forever and ever, Amen. The Democrat Party is insane.
The first Jew finally can't take it anymore, he asks the second Jew, how can you read that Nazi rag.
The second Jew says, well you read how weak, poor and oppressed the Jews are. In my paper, I read how rich and powerful Jews are, that they run the world.
Beinart's in a different world from us.
$1.2 trillion over TEN years ? That’s nothing. We need to be cutting that much and more every YEAR.
Love the joke, but there's a problem. The New York Times was 100% on-board with the Nazis.
You think the fact that you now have a permanent Bush tax cut along with 99% of us is sarcasm? Really?
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