09 April, 2011

How The Tea Party Can Win

We can change the debate. In fact, we already have. as has been said previously, the debate is no longer about whether to cut, but where to cut, and how much to cut. The importance of that point can not be overstated.
We have to realize we’re not going to win this war in one shot. We’re not going to get President Barack Obama (D-USA) to suddenly cut trillions of dollars. Probably not even hundreds of billions. It’s just not going to happen. Even if we get someone in the White House with an R after their name, it’s still not going to be as easy as we’d like.
We have to fight this war one battle at a time. One penny at a time. Every single appropriations bill that comes along needs to be attacked and whittled down. If someone wants the debt ceiling raised, that’s going to come at a price. As heavy a price as we can manage. Every single tax bill needs to be attacked. If a new department or grant is being considered for creation, we need to jump in and shut that off or trim it down.
Obama and Reid need to know that we’re not going away. That we’re going to penny pinch them to death, and that we’re in it for the long haul.
And we don’t let up when we do get a better Senate and White House. That’s a big reason we got into this mess. Despite all my compliments about President George W. Bush (R-USA), there’s no doubt he was a big spender.
We have to understand that we’re not going to get everything. When we ask for $100 billion in cuts, we might only be able to achieve $30 billion, and then only by some serious brinkmanship. And if that means using the troops as a bargaining chip, then we have to do that. We have to use every bargaining chip, every tool we have at our disposal. Because the other side is going to do that, and it’s the only way we’re going to win.
Yes, we’re trying to kill socialism in the United States. But it’s going to have to be a death by a thousand paper cuts. We don’t have the tools and there isn’t the political will in Washington to kill it out right. There may never be.
Those that say that compromise is wrong, and that Boehner screwed up, are flat wrong. Yes, compromises got us in to this mess. But it’s a whole different ball game now, and the compromises we’re seeking are totally different. As I said at the beginning, we’ve changed the argument. We’re not compromising on how much to grow, but how much to cut.
And if we can do that every time, there’s still hope.
Now yes, we have to get that clown out of the White House. And we have to replace him with someone who is serious about cutting. Because we do need some big cuts, and we do need them fast. But, sorry to say, Tea Partiers, but those big cuts ain’t happenin’ before January 2013. It’s impossible.
Shutting down the government is a losing proposition. Independents expect our government leaders to lead and to compromise. Not to pick up their ball and go home. Allowing the government to shut down is no different than what the Democrats did in Indiana and Wisconsin. And in fact, in many ways it’s worse. The GOP might get a boost short term. But then people are going to be needing to go to the Social Security Administration office because they’re dealing with identity theft, and they’re not going to be able to. People are going to get ticked off because all construction has stopped on the interstate they take to work. And the tide will turn against the GOP. And not slowly. Quickly.
Also, there’s a fine line between standing firm and being obstinate. Speaker Boehner (R-OH-08) et al have to walk that line very carefully. Tea Partiers may want him to step over the line to obstinate, but that’s a losing proposition for us long term. Frankly, so far, Beohner has been brilliant. We’re getting an up and down vote in the Senate on ObamaCare. Ed Morrissey describes perfectly how big that is:
So this isn’t important because it holds some new hope for a quicker repeal.  Rather, it forces Democrats to defend the massive government expansion of control yet again, this time closer to the 2012 election.  Democrats didn’t run on ObamaCare in 2010, except in reliably liberal districts for House races, and the last thing they need in an already-difficult cycle is another reminder to voters of the unpopular program.  By forcing a floor vote in this agreement, Reid will have to get his caucus — now reduced to 53 rather than 59 — to entirely back ObamaCare in a new vote.
That means Senators like Bill Nelson in Florida will have to back it, even with the latest Quinnipiac poll showing voters there opposing it 41/49 more than a year after its rollout.  Jon Tester in Montana will have to explain yet again to his constituents why he wants the IRS to be health-insurance cops.  Claire McCaskill already has enough problems in Missouri, as does Ben Nelson in Nebraska.  Even Democrats running for re-election in 2014 — like Mary Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Pryor in Arkansas — will have to go back on the record to support it in order to keep the repeal from passing Congress, and that comes after the clear expression of voter disapproval in last year’s midterms.
Of course, even if that happened, Obama would veto it, but that creates problems for him as well.  If Democrats peel away from ObamaCare and he has to veto it to keep it in place, he suddenly looks very extreme and out of touch.  He’d have to explain why his only real legislative accomplishment has become so toxic that his own party doesn’t back it any more, which would put him even further on the defensive and eliminate the “GOP used scare tactics” defense of ObamaCare that he’ll undoubtedly use on the campaign trail.
Frankly, I’m surprised Reid and Obama agreed to this.  This has zero upside for Democrats heading into 2012, and looks like a political trap.
The next big battle is over raising the debt ceiling. We’re going to have to get some concessions for that. And frankly, they should be big. Bigger than the $39B we just got. But we’ll see how it goes. Then we have next year’s budget, which will be in a dozen different budget bills. That gives us a dozen different votes. And then we’ll have the 2013 budget, which will be voted upon right before the elections in November 2012. Huge opportunities there.
Attack each one. Get every penny. But understand when you’ve gotten all the pennies you’re going to get.
And move on to the next battle.
Perseverance is the key. This isn’t the lottery. We’re not going to wake up one day and discover that we hit the jackpot and now we’re flush with money.
So, in that spirit, I can accept yesterday’s compromise. Am I happy about it? No. Am I even satisfied? Not hardly. But I can accept it. Win what you can. Move on to the next battle. That has to be our motto, or we’re going to lose.
Remember, the very future of this country is at stake. We can’t afford to lose the war because we’re pouting that we didn’t get enough from one tiny battle.
And we can win this way. Remember, a billion here, a billion there, pretty soon you’re talking about real money.

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