Republicans Should Demand that Fiscal Cliff Budget Talks be Televised


Ramirez cartoon via Townhall

Monday afternoon, the GOP countered the WH’s absurd offer on the fiscal cliff, with a reasonable offer embracing a variation of Bowles-Simpson.

Republicans are putting forward a legitimate counter-proposal, which draws from an “imperfect but fair middle ground” plan authored by the Democratic co-chairman of the president’s fiscal commission, Erskine Bowles.  Bowles, for reference, was President Clinton’s chief of staff.  The Washington Post summarizes the broad outlines of his idea, which Republicans have essentially appropriated: “House Republican leaders endorsed a far-reaching plan Monday to rein in the national debt that would raise $800 billion in new tax revenue, slice $600 billion from federal health programs and apply a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security benefits.”  That $800 Billion figure is similar to the number reportedly offered up by Boehner during debt negotiations last summer, and slightly more than the one advanced by Republicans on the so-called “super committee.”  (The special joint committee failed to reach an agreement when Democrats rebuffed the GOP plan and refused to put forward a unified proposal of their own).  Crucially, none of these new revenues come from increased marginal tax rates; they are derived from a tax code simplification plan, which cuts and caps loopholes, deductions and credits (which disproportionately favor the rich).  These effective tax increases are partially offset by lowering rates across the board, a key feature of the original Simpson-Bowles proposal.

House Republican leadership aides told Townhall’s Guy Benson that while far from ideal, the Bowles’ compromise was worth embracing in order to avert the harsh economic impact of going over the cliff.

The tax side of the plan is short on specifics at the moment, though the aide notes that “a number of center-left groups” have published frameworks that could attain $800 Billion in new revenues without raising tax rates.

As you have probably heard – the compromise has already been rejected because it’s not “balanced” enough, meaning of course that it’s not as one sided as Obama would like it.

Via The Corner, here’s Krauthammer’s take:

On tonight’s edition of Special Report, Charles Krauthammer argued that, although Democrats could raise the necessary revenues through deductions and exclusions, the president is bent on raising tax rates because he wants “drive a stake through” the heart of the GOP in the wake of his electoral victory. “This is all about politics, it is nothing about economics,” Krauthammer said.

Watch the video of his comments at NRO.

John Fund agrees. The malignant narcissist Obama isn’t negotiating in good faith. He’s trying to break the Republicans by forcing them to repudiate their anti-tax pledges, thus cementing his  historical legacy as a “progressive” hero. Roll Call reported, Republicans now “believe the president is more interested in raking them over the coals publicly than striking a deal privately.” As Fund, noted, “duh”. If this is a lose/lose for Republicans, they may as well lose with their integrity intact.

Republicans must recognize that while going over the fiscal cliff would damage them politically, so too would their surrendering to Obama. Post-election Gallup polls show that only 11 percent of Americans favor tax hikes alone (basically the current Obama position) in any deal to avert the fiscal cliff. According to Gallup, 88 percent favor taking “major steps” to bolster the long-term stability of Social Security and Medicare. In addition, 92 percent of Americans believe “major cuts” to federal spending are an important priority. A full 68 percent say both sides should “compromise equally.”

But the only way the general public can tell who is offering serious proposals and is willing to “compromise equally” is for the budget negotiations to be held in public. If they’re held in secret, leaks by one side or the other could improperly frame the issue. Secret talks allow the White House to avoid having the Congressional Budget Office score its proposals and reveal them to be as phony as the last Obama budget, which not a single Democrat in the Senate voted for. A backroom deal that is then forced on rank-and-file members of Congress at the last minute would be both bad policy and bad politics.

President Obama rode to the White House in part on promises of transparency and open government. Recall his promise to conduct all health-care negotiations in front of C-SPAN cameras. He broke that pledge. Republicans should now demand that the budget talks be televised.

On Sunday, President of Americans for Tax Reform Grover Norquist called for fiscal cliff negotiations to take place in front of TV cameras:

“It’s the president who is threatening to raise taxes on the middle class if he doesn’t stamp his feet and get his way,” Norquist said Sunday on  NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “He should get into a room with C-Span cameras there and negotiate. Lets have it in front of C-Span cameras. And if the Republicans are being reasonable, we’ll see that. If they’re not, we’ll see that. Gotta have cameras in that room.”

Senator Jeff Sessions called for televised negotiations, last week:

“Over the last two years, Congress and the President have held an endless series of secret negotiations. There have been gangs of six and eight, a supercommittee of 12, talks at the Blair House and the White House. But the only thing these secret talks have produced is a government that skips from one crisis to the next…

That’s why the process needs to be taken out of the shadows… We ought to be engaged. The engagement of the Senate would allow the American people to know what’s happening. They are entitled to that. I believe we can do better. We must do better.”

As Townhall’s Katie Pavlich reminds us:

Open door negotiations give us amazing moments and clarity like the one below, when Paul Ryan battled President Obama directly on ObamaCare.

I would dearly love to see a round two of Paul Ryan vs Obama, this time sparring on the spiraling debt, (what Ryan likes to call “the most predictable crisis we’ve ever had in our country.”)

I can tell you right now who’ll come off as sincere and in command of the facts and who will look like the insincere, preening, divisive demagogue.

That’s why the White House will never agree to televised talks – but  Republicans leaders should start demanding it – loudly. At the very least, it will be an opportunity to pound the deceitful hypocrite on his lack of transparency.

Another idea that would require some spine on the Republicans’ part, (so don’t hold your breath) via The American Thinker:

…there is a way out of this and the president has shown us what that way is: End runs.

As Newt Gingrich never tires of pointing out: The House of Representatives holds the purse strings. The House is majority Republican and the House needs to unfund, de-fund, and refuse to fund the president’s ridiculously destructive orders and regulations and even his signature legislation, the sadly misnamed “Affordable Care Act,” which was rammed through Congress against the will of the majority of Americans and with not one single Republican vote. And the Republican governors of the several states need to arm themselves with the 10th Amendment and refuse to comply with any federally mandated rule or regulation that impacts the citizens of their states adversely.

The president of the United States is not an absolute ruler; he is not a king. His is one of three branches of government. His position is that of an elected official who, ostensibly, represents ALL the people. Barack Obama has not fulfilled that duty, but has chosen, instead, to represent only the people who contribute to his endless campaigns and those who vote for him; in this, he has made himself irrelevant to the governing process of the United States.

It is time for those with the power, the will, and the intelligence to govern this nation responsibly as the Constitution provides to stand up and do it. It is time to take back America.

Something I forgot to mention when I posted this yesterday – yes, as Mark Levin has been suggesting for days –  Republicans need to find a way to go over the heads of the MSM and engage in a public relations war with the Obamacrats. Even if it means spending big $$$ on prime time TV spots. Too many Americans have no idea how dire the fiscal situation is, nor how much they’ve been lied to by this duplicitous Regime.
Its time for the GOP to wage an all-out media assault on the President,  pointing out his obstinate decision to put politics in front of the needs of the country.  They will receive little help from the mainstream media who are all too willing to find fault with anything the GOP proposes.The President and his staff play Chicago-style politics and they play for keeps.  With out a strong effort taking this issue directly to the public, the GOP might find itself in a deep hole with no way to get out.

Of course, holding negotiations in public would serve the same purpose for free.
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!

Monday Ketch-Up: “The US left is preparing to get militant”


Trevor Loudon, New Zeal: Pressure Coming From Below:

The US left is preparing to get militant.

Their friend Barack Obama is about to get some pressure from below, to give him the excuse he needs to do what he wants to anyway.

Bill Fletcher, Jr. of Democratic Socialists of America, the Freedom Road Socialist Organization,  founder of Progressives for Obama, and a long time Obama supporter, calls for mass action in support of government jobs, housing programs, and expanded labor “rights” in 2013.

Aaron Klein: Democrat operatives launch class-warfare website:

A George Soros-funded radical think tank with close ties to the Democratic Party has launched a new website urging politicians and activists to wage class warfare while hailing what it calls a new era in politics – the use of class warfare to win elections.

CAF’s co-director, Robert Borosage, explained the need for such a website.

“America’s growing diversity and its increasingly socially liberal attitudes played a big role in this election. But looking back, we are likely to see this as the first of the class warfare elections of our new Gilded Age of extreme inequality,” he wrote in a statement.

Gateway Pundit: Obama’s Deficit Lies Exposed in Three Easy to Read Charts:

Throughout his first term and during the recent campaign Barack Obama blamed the Bush tax cuts for the trillion dollar deficits.

It was a lie. He knew it was a lie. The media knew it was a lie. They let him get away with it anyway.

The truth is federal revenues went up after passing the Bush tax cuts and the deficit went down.
In fact, federal receipts reached Clinton-era levels in 2006, 2007, and 2008 without Clinton-era tax rates.
This was all due to the Bush tax cuts.

View the charts at the link, as well as the enraging video of Obama brazenly lying about Bush’s tax cuts if your stomach can take it.

Weasel Zippers: WaPo: Obama Identifying Priorities For A Second-Term “Black Agenda”…

Anyone care to guess what the reaction to a “Bush to push white agenda” would have sounded like?

President Obama: Identifying priorities for a second-term ‘black agenda’ — Washington Post

While President Obama has been a unifying force in the black community during his first term in office, his presidency has also fueleddeep divisions among many African Americans. The president’s first-term policies sparked heated debates among a host of well-known black intellectuals and political observers who argue that the president has ignored the issues of his most loyal base.

Rusty Weiss, Freedomworks: The $2 Billion Stimulus Disaster You’ve Never Heard About:

In 2009, the celebration was on for an oddly-named company known as CH2M Hill. The engineering firm, performing the vast majority of the work at a cleanup project located on the Hanford Nuclear Site in eastern Washington, had just received word of a $1.96 billion reward in stimulus money for their services.  The company immediately set about conducting job fairs and hiring 1,300 employees.

Feel good story of the stimulus, right?  Wrong.  More like a prime example of how stimulus funding was nothing more than a short-term band-aid for a long-term economic wound.

In the past couple of years, CH2M Hill has repeatedly announced layoffs that have met and exceeded the number of hires created by the stimulus, have slashed the pensions of non-union workers, and are currently demanding wage and benefit cuts from their union employees.

In January of 2011, specifically citing the drying up of stimulus funds, the Hanford nuclear site braced for a loss of 1,600 jobs, with 1,350 starting in September for CH2M Hill.

This past August, the company announced another 400 layoffs were imminent, informing members of the Hanford Atomic Metal Trades Council (HAMTC) union of the news.

All told, the Hanford site started 2011 with 12,000 workers, but lost about 2,000 nine months later.  An article by the Tri-City Herald featured several interviews with people who had lost their jobs after stimulus funding had dissipated.  Most understood that their positions were only temporary – meaning, they recognized that once the stimulus money had been thrown at the project, their jobs would be eliminated.

Why didn’t the government?

Michelle Malkin: Gitmo North returns: Obama’s shady prison deal:

If you thought President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder had given up on closing Guantanamo Bay and bringing jihadists to American soil, think again. Two troubling developments on the Gitmo front should have every American on edge.

The first White House maneuver took place in October, while much of the public and the media were preoccupied with election news. On Oct. 2, Obama’s cash-strapped Illinois pals announced that the federal government bought out the Thomson Correctional Center in western Illinois for $165 million. According to Watchdog.Org, a recent appraisal put the value of the facility at $220 million.

Democratic Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin led the lobbying campaign for the deal, along with Illinois Democrat Gov. Pat Quinn, who is overseeing an overall $43 billion state budget deficit and scraping for every available penny. The Thomson campus has been an empty Taj Mahal for more than a decade because profligate state officials had no money for operations. Economic development gurus (using the same phony math of federal stimulus peddlers) claim the newly federalized project will bring in $1 billion.

John Hayward, Human Events: Bob Costas sucker-punches Sunday Night Football fans with gun control lecture:

It never takes long for gun-control fanatics to exploit tragedy for their political ends.  NBC’s Bob Costas put on a particularly disgusting and unacceptable display on Sunday night, as he hijacked a football broadcast to sucker-punch fans with a gun-control sermon following the horrible Jovan Belcher murder-suicide.  The Kansas City Chiefs linebacker, 25, murdered his 22-year-old girlfriend Kasandra Perkins at home in front of his mother, jumped into his car, drove to the stadium, and shot himself in front of his head coach and general manager.

The Other McCain: The Continuing Newsworthiness of the Weird Kimberlin-Rauhauser Story:

When Neal Rauhauser’s blog went dark (and Neal’s pet Twitter troll, “Occupy Rebellion” went silent) Friday, it didn’t make big headlines — even most blogs ignored it — despite the fact that it involves one of the central figures in one of the most bizarre stories of the year.

Among the minor frustrations of covering this story has been the occasional accusation that I’ve gone down a rabbit hole, chasing an inconsequential controversy that boils down to “just a bunch of crazy people arguing on the Internet.” Yet the story remains every bit as newsworthy today, in early December, as it was on May 25, when it accounted for the top seven threads on Memeorandum.

Read the whole thing. Now that the election season is over, McCain is back on the Kimberlin/Rauhauser beat – and there are some new developments.

Twitchy: Shameful: Pope Benedict XVI joins Twitter, vile hate starts before his first tweet:

Twitter is buzzing today, as Pope Benedict XVI ’s new Twitter account has been revealed. The buzz started yesterday, when it was reported that the pope would launch a personal Twitter account.

What can you do? Some people are just bound and determined to go to Hell.

Another case in point:

Weasel Zippers: Liberal D.C. Group Throwing Christmas Party Celebrating Abortion…

Using the birth of Christ to promote killing unborn children . . . classy.

Via LifeNews:

It’s the holiday season, and the abortion industry is working hard to capitalize on it. They already got Black Friday covered… next up? Christmas! You know, for choice!

Because what better way to celebrate the most famous birth in history than by celebrating abortion?:

It’s that time of year again, for the hottest party of the holiday season: the Peace, Joy and Choice Winter Holiday Party!

Anything less than this tribute would have been a letdown.

You’re probably asking yourself one question: How did that bus get into the picture? Somebody’s got some explaining to do.

I don’t even have the capacity to be surprised or appalled by this man, anymore.

See also Twitchy:  Narcissist in chief: President Obama honors Rosa Parks anniversary with picture of himself; Update: Adam Baldwin with the win

Any good news out there? Send me a tip – I’d be glad to post it.

Here’s something….

Pat Caddell, Big Government: Obama’s Arrogant Overreach—and the Republican Opportunity:

In the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, the Republicans are in desperate need of a game-changer. That is, the current dynamics in Washington DC are so bad right now for Republicans that they are likely to go off a political cliff. President Obama and the Democrats have always been looking to push the GOP into the abyss, of course, but lately, Republicans have volunteered to stand at the edge of the precipice and lean far over.

And yet amazingly, in the meantime, just last week, Republicans were handed a possible game-changer—and they did nothing with it. They just ignored it, so the Democrats will keep pushing.  If the GOP doesn’t get a clue as to the real nature of the fiscal cliff negotiations, they will lose.

In a nutshell, Republicans need to understand that the real struggle is not with the Obama administration; instead, the real struggle is for American political opinion, including the broad middle that preferred Obama to Romney, but nevertheless feels no great trust or affection for the re-elected 44th President.

If Obama is seen as a fellow who wants to move the economy to a better place by raising taxes on the Koch Brothers, he will win. But if Obama is seen as an arrogant and unconstitutional power-grabber, he will lose. By that logic, then, Republicans should shift their perceived focus, from defending the low tax rates of billionaires to defending the US Constitution against executive Caesarism.

Yid with Lid: Pray for America Then Fasten Your Seat Belts The Next Four Years Are Going to Be a Bumpy Flight:

There are certain things that will happen in the near future as a direct result of the Obama victory:

Justice Ginsberg will resign. She is the most progressive Justice on the Supreme Court and has been fighting serious illness for years.  With a liberal Justice guaranteed to replace her, look for Ginsberg to announce her retirement at the end of the present court year.
Israel will attack Iran before the end of the year. With an unfriendly president, reluctant to place additional sanctions on Iran as commander-in-chief of her biggest ally; look for Israel to strike while the iron is hot.  Remember the bomb drawing Netanyahu showed at the UN?  It’s getting to that time and now Israel knows it cannot expect political help from America leaving her no alternative.
A fight for the future of the Republican Party.  Beginning tomorrow there will be a fight for the soul of the GOP.  The issue will be whether the party will be an “almost as liberal as the Democrats” party, or will be dominated by the more conservative members—giving Americans a real two-party system. Look for the apex of the battle to be the vote for Speaker of the House as many conservatives are calling for John Boehner’s head.  If the Boehner wing wins out, you may see a third party arise.
Gridlock.  During the debate over the stimulus plan, the GOP asked to participate in crafting the stimulus, they were rebuffed and told “elections have consequences.” The same thing happened during the health care debate.  Obama has refused to engage the other side of the aisle. That will not change, the gridlock we saw for the past two years will continue.
When I was a child my Mother, of blessed memory, used to tell me over and over that I could be anything I wanted to be providing I worked hard enough. I passed those feelings to my children.  As we enter another four years of an Obama presidency I wonder if my kids will be able to say the same thing to their children, or will it be more of a progressive, “when you grow up, you can be the same as everybody else.”
Linked by Michelle Malkin, thanks!