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A Civil War with Two Winners

Rather than vilifying them, it’s time to recognize that both sides of this debate are working toward the same goals.

by
Jazz Shaw

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December 16, 2013 - 12:07 am
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On Thursday, December 12, 2013, something remarkable happened in the history of current American politics. To be more accurate, two remarkable things happened.  The first — and most obvious — was that the United States House of Representatives came dangerously close to passing a budget for the first time in recent memory, though precisely how recent is up for debate as well. There was a rather large, multipart omnibus bill in 2009 which certainly resembled a budget in many regards, but it wasn’t really a budget per se.  In the opinion of others, you might have to go all the way back to 1997 to find the passage of an actual budget. But no matter how you define Thursday’s agreement, it was still rather historic in that the least productive Congress in recorded history actually accomplished something, for better or worse.

Inside the Republican big tent, the accomplishment in question was met with a less than enthusiastic response in some quarters. Whether it was the Senate Conservatives Fund, Heritage, Club for Growth or any other of a number of groups striving to drive a conservative spending agenda, there was clearly something not right in Whoville this season. Everyone was “scoring the bill” and ready to put a checkmark in the naughty list column for any Republican who dared vote to pass the agreement crafted by Paul Ryan and Patty Murray. The reaction was perhaps best summed up by a spokesperson for Tea Party Patriots, who pulled no punches and flatly announced that war had been declared.

Tea Party Patriots said Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has “declared war on the Tea Party” with his “smug and pretentious rant” against certain right-wing organizations.

The group made the charge in a fundraising email to supporters, seeking to win donations over the public feuding.…

The letter quotes Boehner’s statement that “outside groups” were “using our members and … the American people for their own goals.”

“The last time we checked, we are the American people,” the letter said.

But that was not the second remarkable thing to occur. This is a cycle which has been repeating for some time now, dating back far past the partial shutdown of October, which the White House and the Democrats used to whip the Republicans mercilessly to the delight of the media and DNC strategists. At that time these same groups demanded — and achieved — the support of the leadership in taking the battle to the edge of the cliff and beyond, requiring either an end to the president’s signature health care law or significant delays and changes.

Nothing measurable came from this effort in terms of return on investment aside from a growing consensus among voters that the GOP shouldn’t be trusted with running anything much more complicated than a fruit stand. Bitter feelings were sowed, with “establishment type” donors vowing to mount a counteroffensive against a Tea Party run amuck and grassroots conservatives promising primary challenges all across the landscape. But the law of unintended consequences was in play as it often is in American politics, and the second remarkable thing took place as if Charlie Brown was witnessing the Christmas Miracle early.

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Top Rated Comments   
"....that the least productive Congress in recorded history...."

Judging the productivity of Congress in terms of the number of bills passed is assinine. It's an incredibly poor metric to judge the worth of congress since the majority of bills passed are unecessary, usually destructive, and normally duplicative of laws which already exist but aren't enforced.

And virtually every new law passed constitutes a reduction in liberty and freedom.

Immigration wouldn't be a problem or an issue if Congress had weilded more of their its authority to monitor the executive branch and ensure it was enforcing existing law.

Or spent more of its time reviewing proposed or enacted regulations by various government agencies and insisting on their revocation since many of these have the force of law on the public and frankly either border/usurp congressional authority.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
To borrow a phrase: "They don't believe in big government. They believe in lots and lots and lots of small government."
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The differences between the so called “establishment GOP” and these outside groups are found in tactics, not purpose.

This is not true. The so-called Establishment Wing (better called the RINO Wing) is committed to playing by the rules set by the Democrats (better called Socialists) in conjunction with the judiciary and the federal bureaucracy. And, as described by Austrian School economist Robert Higgs, the rules shift steadily leftward every election cycle under the effects of what he called the Ratchet Effect.

The RINOs and the conservatives (derisively labeled the Tea Party) differ substantially in their respective goals. For example, the conservatives believe that the budget must be balanced, now, while Paul Ryan, a leading RINO, sees the budget coming to terms with itself decades from now, and even that not so rosy financial projection is based on the assumption that the Socialists will keep their budgetary word, which history has proven they will not do.

Conservatives also believe in the return to Federalism, and thereby a legal government. For example, the federal government has no legal authority to be involved in the insurance business at all, per the Enumerated Powers, yet first FDR and then LBJ and now BHO has progressively expanded its illegal and incompetent involvement.

Truth be told, the RINOs should switch to the Socialist Party. Let McCain, Graham, Snowe, Ryan, Cantor and all the rest join the Democratic Caucus. Their membership in the Republican Caucus is unwelcome and harmful because it confuses the public into the thinking that their positions represent the conservative, common sense, legal positions when they do not. Dividing by two quit working long ago after the umpteenth ratchet move. The way to win elections is by enforcing the law, and that means wielding the power of impeachment on the judiciary and the executive. Looking at the polls, that express policy would win elections, because it’s the only realistic alternative.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (43)
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THUNK!!!

That was the sound of me passing out from agreement with Jazz!
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Well, at least we know where the Paulbots went. :-)
Point of order: The Ryan budget is going to succeed in one key area. By ending the Continuing Resolutions and going to a real budget the power of the purse will be returned to Congress, where it should be.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"the media will run out of other material and be forced to focus yet again on the true story of the day"

I'll believe THAT when I see it! I've been waiting for 18 years to see such a thing. The author underestimates the alacrity with which the media can deploy stories about poor kids, battered women, rescued kittens, and Darwin Awards-like yucks to avoid talking about Democrats screwing up, esp. in regards to our First Black President, or facilitating piling on Republicans.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
NewsFlash! John Boehner declared War on the TEA Party waaay back immediately after the 2010 mid-terms.

In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if that IRS action that hog-tied many of the grassroots orgs was rubber-stamped by ole bleary-eyed Johnny.

Neither political party was enthralled with having newbies in DC to initiate, but with some help from Dick Armey et al, Boehner/Cantor were able to undermine the fresh idealism the Frosh congressmen brought along.

In the interim Rove has worked feverishly to get a hold on the grassroots, local party apparatus, to the point that TEA candidates will most assuredly be dumped during the first stages of their campaign. The party will let them stay in just long enough to run through their wad of cash, before kicking the stool from under them. The Elite Ruling Class RINO types (most prominently the Bushes, but many others who maintain a low profile) will now control the party from the local precinct up. If you think they are going to allow another 2010 TEA surprise, you are off your rocker.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
re: "John Boehner declared War on the TEA Party waaay back immediately after the 2010 mid-terms."
Citation please. I honestly do not remember it that way.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The permanent, default position in display in high relief: " If the leadership is signaling anything here, it’s simply that they’ve concluded that this is a battle best fought when there are more weapons in the armory rather than perishing today with the last few grenades in the ammo bag. "
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Last night I dreamed that Paul Ryan came over to the house to help work out a family budget. I had been worried about costs going up on so many things. He assured me that I needn't worry.

He found a credit card that wasn't completely maxed out. At first I was dubious because I was thinking about all that interest we would accrue. He showed me where I was wrong. You see, next year I merely need to cut back on shoes and outfits, and maybe buy fewer double lattes. But what if they come up with a new flavor that I simply must have? What if the shoe-fashions are to die for? I was assured that I needn't worry. Let next year take care of itself. This budget was genius.

Then my husband came home. His opinion was entirely uncalled for. What does he mean, irresponsible?

Before things became too heated, Congressman Ryan instructed me how to respond. I stood up to that bully of a husband and I told him that he must be some kind of extremist if he disapproved of me and Mr. Ryan's brilliant budget. He must be a right-wing kook.

Then I woke up, relieved to think that such things never happen in the real world.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
And don't worry. Once you do max out that credit card, you can just pay it off with another one. That'll boost your credit score, and give you even more money to borrow to buy more cool stuff with. I see no downside to any of this. It truly is ingenious.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
The never ending "no hills to die on" strategy garauntees the adoption of Leftist policy prescriptions, the expansion of the Federal Government and government power and authority. Increasing spending and both debt and taxation.

Slandering people that see that Conservative RINOism leads inexorably to Socialism.

The question is, is that past, present, and future acceptable to you. Because if it isnt, then you are going to have to remove the aiders and abetters and abandon their losing strategy.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Suppose a politician really wanted to rollback statism, stop the deficit spending which fuels it and the fiat money system which backstops it. Such an person would be reviled by all forces within this society, by the media, by BOTH political parties. Such a person would be low in the poll numbers and would have 'no practical chance' of winning.

Returning to sound budgets and sound money would cause much pain on the part of those dependent on the unsound versions of both.

The Republican establishment would say this is not the hill to die on and would oppose such a person. The Repubs would be happy simply to make statism a little more workable as long as they had their turn at the trough and could put their stamp on programs which are 95% of what the left wanted anyway.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
Boehner and Ryan are just Politicians looking to guarantee THEIR Lifetime gigs at The Trough...

To amass enough wealth and power and privilege so they and all of THEIR future generations, will never suffer a Day of Indignity, living lowly and contemptible lives of Ordinary American-ness as we, the servant class who must fund their future at the expense of our own.

And B&R Railroad has now found their permanent seat place at The Palace Roundtable, in the role of Faux Opposition… in tacit agreement to do exactly what The Full-on Statists want in exchange for such privileged access, while providing some modest levels of believable “disagreement” in order to appease the “base” of hapless suckers in their districts who will foot the bill for all these excesses….

You see, the Democrats shtick has always been “I’ll get your hand into their pocket”…. and its quite effective at generating voter support amongst the two-headed monster of the Costal Enclaves, the Lazy Urban subsidized, and The Elite Connected Subsidized….But those in “flyover” territory who RESIST being perpetually fleeced, several generations into the future, to support the Coastal Enclaves, need an alternative… a Champion, a Character to represent THEM in The Court Of Royal Amusements, so…

Enter The Faux Opposition, who’s shtick is “don’t worry, I’ll get their hand OUT of your pocket” ….

And so, The Show begins…Hero, and villain. Comedic personality and Straight Man, Democrat and Republican….one oblivious and irresponsible yet beloved, the other alert, stern and and sober, but always booed….and BOTH characters Utterly Necessary for The Show To Go On….

And in every episode, after some carefully timed slapstick and with all plans for success and riches falling to utter shambles (for all Politics is theatre) they BOTH get into your pockets, and your childrens pockets, and you CHILDRENS childrens pockets, for THAT, unbeknownst to you, was the price of admission.

The Curtain draws with the Angry, Stern “straight man” grumbling that he can never QUITE get the sympathetic “funny guy” to toe the line, and the “Funny Guy” always forgiven for all his failings and irresponsibility’s, because he really doesn’t “mean” to be so stupid. And The Act goes on and on, for generations…

Boehner, and now Ryan, dutifully playing the Republican Bud Abbot to the Democrat Lou Costello…accepting the forever negative type-casting that will define their careers, because that’s Show-Biz Folks….and everyone in it wants to be a Star, even if they have to be The Villain.
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
"....they are seeking to bank some public support by conducting the public’s business now and carrying that into the mid-term elections."

The problem, Mr. Shaw, is that the RINO's aren't likely to win many elections by angering those elements of the electorate who would otherwise be naturally most inclined to vote for them.

And since when, precisely, is it the "conducting public's business" to spend public funds like a drunken sailor?
35 weeks ago
35 weeks ago Link To Comment
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