EDITOR OF REDSTATE
Have Republicans Boxed Themselves Into a Government Shutdown?
First of all, I hope so.But have they boxed themselves in?Consider that the fiscal cliff deal is playing badly with lots of folks, not just partisan Republicans and partisan Democrats. Congress playing brinksmanship with nothing to show for it really is aggravating the American public.If both sides are going to play at brinksmanship, at some point the base of the parties and the American public are going to expect more than last minute can kicking and f-bombs. More importantly, the Republican base feels very slighted by its leadership. Mitch McConnell played lead negotiator to a tax hike that, ironically, raises taxes least on people making $200,000.00 to $400,000.00. The middle class, because of the payroll tax kicking back in, will feel a bigger tax increase according to the left and it looks like they are right.Saying it wasn’t a tax increase because the vote happened on January 1st is not going to cut it with middle class Americans who are going to see their taxes go up.Additionally, there are a number of Republicans who can expect primary challenges and need to show they have spines and will fight. Saxby Chambliss, already being called Taxby for his openness about wanting increased revenue, is nervous. He is up in 2014 along with several of his colleagues in the House and Senate who voted for the McConnell Tax Hike.But there are other signs. Pat Toomey is already puffing his chest out in damage control to say the GOP must now be willing to shoot the hostage . . . er . . . shut it down for spending cuts. Specifically, Toomey tells Joe Scarborough, “We Republicans need to be willing to tolerate a temporary partial government shutdown, which is what that could mean, and insist that we get off the road to Greece because that’s the road we’re on now.”Mitch McConnell too is saying it is time to move to spending cuts.The public will not be satisfied if the only spending cuts it gets are restricted sequestration cuts that should have happened yesterday. Republicans will not be satisfied if the GOP doesn’t seem to pull out a win against the Democrats. There must be more than a restructuring of the existing sequestration cuts that were intended for the last debt ceiling increase. There must be more reforms.But President Obama says he will not negotiate at all. The debt ceiling must just rise. Jim Pethokoukis notes liberals are already convincing themselves that taxes can go up to a 70% rate on the wealthy. More so many “liberals now think the CBO is wildly exaggerating the cost of Medicare going forward.”In other words, while the world notes that entitlements must be reformed to save America economically, liberals are doing what they accuse the right of doing — convincing themselves that false is true within their own echo chamber.With the public tired of brinksmanship based can kicking and the Republican base viewing Washington Republicans as sellouts, Republicans must show they are ready not just to negotiate, but to fight hard for real reform and cuts. The public agrees with the GOP that Washington spends too much.So what will the GOP do? Add to that the costs of Obamacare becoming more clear, the states forcing Washington’s hand with health care exchanges, and the new Obamacare taxes that started January 1st separate from the Mitch McConnell tax hike and about the only thing the GOP can do to save face and look like they are serious is to be willing to shut it all down when Barack Obama refuses to negotiate.The McConnell Tax Hike of 2013 has boxed the GOP in for the debt ceiling fight. If they can’t find a way to get real cuts without shutting the government down, there will be hell to pay if they cave without a shut down. Of course, if they shut it down and then go wobbly like Bob Dole did by not keeping it shut down till the Democrats conceded, there’ll be hell to pay for the shut down.