Looking on the Bright Side

If you’re looking for some venting on how badly the Republicans allowed themselves to be played on this ridiculous shit sandwich Congress just served America, go elsewhere. Yes, we have some entrenched establishment types who have thrown in the towel. These Republicans need to be retired and replaced with younger conservatives who have not given up on taming the government Leviathan, can think strategically, are good at PR, and are willing to take some bold steps to cut spending. My husband got an earful, Tuesday,  but as a longtime practitioner of Reagan’s Eleventh Commandment, I  won’t do it, here. That is exactly what the Marxist in Chief and his simpering minions in the media want, as you know – Obama wanted to “fracture” the Republican party. Why give it to them?  I respect our members of Congress too much – including the ones who inexplicably voted for the shitburger – yes, even John Boehner himself. These are not bad guys – they were dealing with a tough, no win situation. Even fiscal- hawk, Paul Ryan voted for this mess. That should tell you how difficult this deal was.

Ramesh Ponnuru explained  at The Corner, why House Republicans couldn’t amend the deal:

A lot of conservatives in the House wanted to add spending cuts to the Senate deal and spent hours trying to figure out if they could pass a version of the deal that included them. They failed, though, for the same reason Speaker Boehner’s “Plan B” failed.

You may recall that Boehner wanted the House to pass a bill that blocked income-tax increases for everyone making less than $1 million a year but allowed scheduled increases to take place for people who make more. He couldn’t get such a bill through the House, though, because Democrats wanted a bigger tax increase and a lot of Republicans didn’t want to appear to be endorsing tax increases for anyone. Republicans especially didn’t want to vote “for tax increases” since Boehner’s bill probably wasn’t going to become law. From their perspective, they would be sullying their voting records for nothing.

A deal-plus-spending-cuts bill faced the same hurdle. Republicans had to find 218 votes from their ranks alone; Democrats weren’t going to supply any votes for a bill to the right of the Senate deal. And a lot of Republicans didn’t want to vote “for” tax increases — bigger ones than many of them had rejected when Plan B was being considered. Again, they especially didn’t want to do that when the bill had a good chance of dying in the Senate.

In short: A lot of Republicans wished the deal included more spending cuts without being willing to vote for a deal with more spending cuts. That’s why this effort failed.

Robert Costa of NRO on the 257–167 vote:

… for now, most Republicans are happy to see the fiscal-cliff episode end, even if it was with a whimper and much disagreement. “People wanted to get this finished, move on, and fight another day,” says Representative Bobby Schilling of Illinois, who voted against the plan. “There is unhappiness about how the Senate went about this, but that wasn’t enough to stop the vote.”

Conservative groups, such as the Club for Growth, Freedom Works, and Heritage Action opposed the Biden-McConnell deal, but their opposition was far from a unanimous position among right-of-center activists. Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform, told CNN that the vote was “technically not a violation” of his group’s anti-tax pledge. Due to the fiscal cliff, “the tax cuts disappear and we’re restoring them for most people,” Norquist said. “We’re not raising taxes.” In the Senate, tea-party stars such as Marco Rubio (Fla.) and Rand Paul (Ky.) voted against it, but other conservatives, such as Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Ron Johnson (Wis.) voted for it. Across the board, Republicans were dissatisfied, but hardly united in opposition.

William Kristal, while making clear that he thought the cliff deal was  “ridiculous in too many ways to count” and “a sad commentary on our politics today”, attempted to put a positive spin on it in his piece in The Weekly Standard:

….the deal is substantively better than going over the cliff and having all income and investment taxes go up, and having the defense sequester hit right away. And politically, Republicans are escaping with a better outcome than they might have expected, and President Obama has gotten relatively little at his moment of greatest strength. In particular, this should do it for new tax revenues, at a number lower than Speaker Boehner originally offered—and it should be pretty easy to have the next debate focus on spending and entitlements.

Okay, Kristol’s faith that spending will be addressed by this demented President and Democrats in Congress is somewhat optimistic…granted.

That leads us to this glass half full assessment from John Hinderaker of Powerline – they’re going to have to address….something, eventually…

But what happens now that Obama has gotten his way? It will soon become apparent that the fiscal cliff deal, including precisely the tax increases that Obama has been demanding for four years, makes hardly a dent in the deficit. At best, it will reduce the deficit by five or six percent. We will continue to run up deficits of close to $1 trillion a year, and the national debt will continue to grow, as Obama has always intended. This fact can’t be hidden; it will be reported. Journalists who have pulled their punches in the past because they wanted Obama to be re-elected will now begin to ask, what are we going to do about the deficit and the debt? At some point, perhaps sooner rather than later, interest rates will begin to rise, at which point the debt issue will become a crisis. And Republicans will say: we told you so.

The Democrats will have only three choices: they can try to raise taxes on the “rich” even higher. But raising them to 100% wouldn’t deal with the deficit, even if you assume all those rich people are willing to work for free. The second option is to restrain federal spending. The Democrats would rather die than do that. The third option is to try to raise taxes on all those millions of Americans who aren’t rich. That is what the Democrats will do once the moment arrives when they can no longer ignore the trillions of dollars in debt they are inflicting on our children. That will be, politically, a very bad moment for the Democrats and a very good one for the Republicans, who can offer the alternative of less spending and who will have been proved right with respect to the biggest policy debate of recent years.

All of this is another way of saying that, with the Democrats’ BS about raising taxes on the rich out of the way, we can have a rational debate about the country’s fiscal future. And that is a debate the GOP can win, as most voters continue to believe that it is better to cut spending than to raise taxes on them. So let’s not despair: the post-cliff landscape may well prove favorable to the sorts of reforms that have been impossible for the last four years.

And here’s Aaron Klein’s  similar take: Now it gets interesting:

For all the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth on the professional right, it’s important to understand that this ship sailed on November 6. Mitt Romney lost the election. The President ran on higher taxes for the wealthy. The status quo of existing law was the President’s position. This cake was baked on election night.

Yes, it’s stupid, wrongheaded policy. It doesn’t make a whit’s worth of difference to my tax return, but we will never know the full impact of the jobs that won’t be created because we’re confiscating more than half of what the job creators earn, and incentivizing them to keep what they’ve already earned on the sidelines, instead of investing it.

But here’s where the game changes.

For years, every time level-headed leaders have tried to address the spending crisis, the liberal retort has been that the rich have to pay their fair share first.

Well, it’s done. The President won. He can’t ever again say that the rich aren’t paying their “fair share.” According to his definition, they are now.

And now, his second term is going to be defined by dealing with a spending crisis so incredibly massive that if you could tax every “rich” person 1,000% a year, you still wouldn’t solve it. And we reach that “cliff” in mere weeks when we hit the debt ceiling.

I’m interested in playing the blame game as our beleaguered economy continues to get worse instead of better….

As I wrote a few weeks ago:

… I’m arguing that Republicans should agree to a modest tax hike on upper income earners to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, which would be devastating to the economy and to our national security.  Obama is playing a political poker game, and it’s great fun for him, because he has all the cards. He doesn’t care a whit if we go over the cliff because he knows Republicans will get blamed for it and by demanding that Republicans agree to his tax increase,  he believes  the Republican party will be fractured.

That’s why Republican leaders must make clear that any increase agreed to was made under duress. As I said, the other day — make sure the public understands that Republicans are giving the President his tax increase only because it’s what the people who voted for him wanted, and because it’s better than the alternative – going over the cliff –  not because it is the right thing to do. No smiles, and public pats on the back. They will need to be sore losers and tell everyone that hiking taxes on anyone while the economy is struggling is a bad idea, and they should walk out rather than vote for the shit sandwich.

Okay, nobody walked out, but I didn’t see any smiling faces among the Republicans, Tuesday. The Speaker looked like he’d been crying, in fact.

That’s good. Let the people see how unhappy they are with all this. Let Obama have his little “win”. Let him spike the football and crow to his base that he got Republicans to surrender against their will on taxes. It will be abundantly clear to everyone who the Captain of this sinking ship known as America is.  We’re all going to suffer because of this man’s lack of seriousness on the economy. But at least after this, he won’t be able to blame Republicans for it.