There was a really interesting piece by FoxNews’ James P. Pinkerton yesterday called, “How ‘Les Misérables’ can help lift Republicans out of their misery“. The premise was basic but brought forth through a complex string of thought that circled through historical references and reformist sentiment back around to how the recent movie and the book it’s based on hold inspiration to solve many of the problems of today’s republican party and the country in general. I’d like to continue this train of thought; please read his article first.
The fiscal cliff deal is a humiliating defeat for the Republican party and the American people. There is no other way to look at it. It’s done, and now is the time to regroup. If they play their cards properly, they can go from being the goats to being the good guys in a matter of two months.
First and foremost, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor needs to challenge John Boehner for the Speaker’s seat on Thursday. He has been playing the proper role of publicly supporting Boehner through the crisis and supporting “Plan B” before Christmas, but now that the deal is done with his vote against registered opposed, it’s time for him to step up and unite the party under a more conservative stance. Time is short. This is far from the end of the troubles. This deal simply prolongs negotiations for a couple of months and minimizes the tax impact on the middle class.
Regardless of whether it’s Cantor, Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, Jim Jordan, or Boehner, the iron is hot to turn around the public perception mess that the GOP has created for itself since the election. They need to unite, conservatives and moderates, under a single powerful message to the effect of this:
“We did what was necessary to protect the middle class. Now we must do what’s necessary to protect the country, and that’s a dramatic reduction in spending.”
It hurts the party tremendously when they couldn’t pass Plan B, a measure that was less crushing than the plan that just passed. Despite support from Cantor, Boehner was unable to pull it off because he could not convince his party of the reality of what would happen if they didn’t vote for and pass it. That is a failure to lead. It demonstrates an inability to properly communicate the consequences to the conservatives in his party and the result was worse than they could have anticipated. They painted themselves into a corner and Boehner did not have the skills necessary to get themselves out of it.
Eric Cantor would. In the long term, the party must find its conservative strength and form a drastic, impenetrable line to keep the President and the Senate from destroying the economy. Eric Cantor may or may not be that person long term, but today and for the next two years he is best-positioned ideologically and within the party hierarchy to prevent further damage and point us in a path towards recovery.
- Could A Boehner-Cantor Rift Send The Country Over The Fiscal Cliff? (tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com)
- Prominent Republicans Displeased Over Fiscal Cliff Deal (huffingtonpost.com)
- Cantor Doesn’t Support Cliff Deal (newser.com)
- House Moves On Fiscal Cliff (huffingtonpost.com)
- Eric Cantor: I won’t support fiscal cliff deal (salon.com)
Let’s put aside for a moment the concept that raising taxes is not the answer. Let’s forget for this discussion that dramatic cuts in spending is the only possible way to get out of the financial mess that this country is in. Let’s assume that bi-artisan understanding of economic responsibility is too hard for both sides to swallow and that it’s much easier to get re-elected by blaming others and opening up the purse-strings to “buy” votes. Let’s just look at the way that this is all being handled.
The left is pointing to the right and the right is pointing to the left as far as assigning blame for the impasse that is plunging us towards a cliff that will damage the country’s economy, reputation, and future. The difference is that the the left is making their points by positioning themselves well in front of the media and through social sites. The right, on the other hand, is simply pointing fingers. It’s not playing well to the people. It’s not playing well for the press. It’s definitely not playing well on social media.
When will the right realize that they have to protect themselves when times like these come about? In reality, they never will. It goes against the nature of the party and the conservative movement in general to garner public support through anything other than the truth. Unfortunately, the truth is very ugly as it pertains to the fiscal cliff and the left is masterfully spinning this to fall squarely on John Boehner and the Republicans in Congress.
Conservatives, it’s time to hope for the best but plan for the worst. If we do go over the cliff, it will be extremely important to make sure as many people as possible understand that the roadblocks were placed squarely there by the left, that the GOP attempted to compromise twice during negotiations without an inch given by the administration, and that it’s not about protecting the rich but rather about protecting the future of the country. Arm yourself with the facts and push forward towards better days. If we go over the cliff, we’ll need to buckle down to make sure that the right decisions are made in the future.
- GOP image already over the cliff (firstread.nbcnews.com)
- Poll: 69% Disapprove of GOP on Fiscal Cliff (themoderatevoice.com)
- GOP Over The Fiscal Cliff (iflyf14.com)
- Poll: Most Americans would blame GOP if Congress fails on fiscal cliff (thehill.com)
- GOP Not in Position of Strength on Fiscal Cliff (politicalwire.com)
- NBC/WSJ poll: Public wants compromise to avoid fiscal cliff (firstread.nbcnews.com)
There is a huge problem in the way the American political system works. It isn’t the politicians necessarily that are the problem, at least not at the root level. The problem lies within the system type itself, around the differences between popularity and legacy, and with the way that Americans have been programmed over the last few decades.
The tough choices are the ones that won’t get made. Why? Because tough choices that will benefit the country in the long run are unpopular today. The most obvious example of this is the unbelievable level of spending that has taken over Washington as well as states like California. Everyone on both sides of the political fence realize that spending must be cut in order for the country to survive for more than a two or three decades. This is a fact that has been established by multiple financial projection models. Some models say the country is due for a complete fiscal implosion by 2020. Other push it as far off as 2045. ALL of them point to an implosion at some point in the near future.
Unfortunately, cuts in spending are unpopular. They require sacrifices to be made. Americans have no problem with sacrifices as long as it’s not them making the sacrifices, so the trend has been to find the smallest groups that will be affected by cuts and target them first. Today, we’re in a situation where many of the easy cuts have already been made. It’s the big cuts that need to be made to make the country’s future fiscally conceivable.
Big cuts lead to lost elections. In a world where politicians live and die by their own re-election potential as well as the potential of their party’s continued victories, neither side is willing to make the cuts. Republicans who would make the cuts don’t win. Democrats who would make the cuts keep their opinions to themselves.
For there to be any chance of a future, America must reform the entire election system. This means establishing election laws that remove the potential for re-election. It means that governors could not run for Congress when they’re time is done. It means Congressmen could not run for Senate after their term.
The biggest roadblock to such a system would be the President. They have to come from somewhere. There are a couple of ways to go about this, but the one that makes the most sense is to have candidates that have taken a “time out” from politics. That doesn’t mean that they can’t be involved in some way. Just not in an elected way. If a governor wants to run for President, they cannot do so until they have left office for a minimum time period.
This would do a couple of things. First, it would make the runs sincere. Jumping back into the political ring after a four-year hiatus to play in the real world after a term in the Senate means that they have time to truly study the world of politics, understand the things that are making the country and the world tick, get out there and touch the people, and rest their minds for a chance to take over the most important job in the world.
It would also prevent problems with current positions. Had the Republicans won the election, Wisconsin’s Paul Ryan would have had to have been replaced.
Finally and most importantly, it would allow current politicians to focus on their jobs. It’s not fair to America that for a year, we technically do not have a focused President. From mid-2011 through November, 2012, President Obama had one important thing on his mind – getting re-elected. The problems that faced the country and the world were not a focus other than how they affected his election chances. The same could be said of 2003-2004 George W. Bush, 1995-1996 Bill Clinton, and 1991-1992 George H. W. Bush. In the last two decades, we’ve had an unfocused President for 1/5th of the time.
This concept is far from perfect. It’s also much better overall than the current system. We are sinking. The unpopular but necessary cuts that must be made in spending will not be made as long as there’s politics running the politicians. We need leadership. We need politicians judged on their legacy, not on their campaign abilities. In a world where campaign promises often determine the results of elections, it’s unfortunate that so few can be kept with re-election still on the table.
- Tom Coburn: ‘We’re Over the Cliff Already’ (abcnews.go.com)
- Creamer: Five Reasons Why Obama Should Win Lame Duck Budget Battle (thedemocraticstrategist.org)
- NAPOLITANO: GOP for Big Government – Washington Times (gds44.wordpress.com)
- HURT: Obama victory means four more years with no hope of change (washingtontimes.com)
- Jeb hearts Bill (thepoliticscafe.com)
- Being Spectacularly Wrong About the Election Won’t Be Enough to Pop the Republican Bubble (alternet.org)