FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Get Ready for the Shiny Objects
Just because the ‘dog and pony Cantor CR plan’ was pulled from the House floor doesn’t mean that we have won the issue. Leadership is committed to not fighting Obamacare in the CR (or the debt ceiling for that matter, despite their empty rhetoric to the contrary), and they have telegraphed that message to the Democrats. Everything they conjure up over the next few days will be designed to distract conservatives with shiny objects in order to make an end-run around conservatives and extricate themselves from this debacle. Leadership wants to get out of this jam quickly so they can move onto some more important things like passing amnesty.
You will hear incessant talk about locking in the sequester cuts we already locked in. You will hear talk about delaying Obamacare for a year and offsetting the savings with a patch of the sequester cuts. What you won’t hear is a unified plan to pass a CR and completely defund Obamacare, putting the pressure on the Senate to pass something that doesn’t offend the vast majority of the American people.
As for the sequester, Eric Cantor and Mitch McConnell have made this the shiny object of the debate. After meeting with his Democrat counterparts this morning, McConnell put out his signature mealy-mouthed statement, tossing in a non-sequitur about the sequester – all the while refusing to take a stand on defunding Obamacare in the CR:
“We need to start by keeping the cuts we’ve already agreed to. It’s time to get serious about the challenges we face and reposition America for growth and prosperity in the 21st Century.”
As we stand at the precipice of implementing the worst law in American history, we are talking about some random discretionary cuts, much of which comes from the military, as the hill to die on this year. The simple fact is that if you are focusing on some budget number instead of the job-killing, price-hiking, liberty-destroying law, you are either out of touch or not conservative.
With regards to the delay strategy, it is the road to cave city. Why would we negotiate with ourselves and show weakness on defund this early in the process, yet pretend that Democrats will be scared of our request for delay? Ultimately, leadership is too scared to engage in any brinkmanship. That applies to defund just as much as delay. All this will accomplish is to disrupt the unified conservative movement and pave the road to the ultimate deal – one which will neither defund nor delay the law. We’ve seen this show before.
Let’s review the story of the 2011 debt ceiling for the umpteenth time. Conservatives united behind Cut, Cap, and Balance as the demand for raising the debt ceiling, much like they are united behind defunding Obamacare for the CR today. After humoring conservatives by adopting it in the House, Boehner unilaterally proposed a compromise “best we can get” bill that jettisoned Cut, Cap, and Balance (CCB), although it still had some saving grace because it forced a balanced budget amendment at least for the second tranche of the debt limit hike.
We all warned that Boehner would never stand by the plan and that they’d be breaking their CCB/debt ceiling pledge for nothing. They all rallied behind Boehner to “strengthen his hand” in the hopes of getting a good deal. Well, less than 24 hours later, Mitch McConnell cut the final deal with Joe Biden, which gave Obama a $2.1 trillion blank check with no balanced budget amendment and a defense sequester trap that they are dealing with to this day. Boehner said at the time that he got 98% of what he wanted from the deal.
In reality, that initial “half loaf” plan was just a Trojan Horse to break the conservative unity and pave the way for a complete capitulation. It’s one thing if we pushed for defund and ultimately got delay after bludgeoning the Democrats with a united front into the month of October. But if we are already negotiating down to delay, it will not take long for leadership to pocket the concession and completely abandon the fight against Obamacare.
Ultimately, Republicans have made it clear that they are terrified of brinkmanship. So what difference does it make if we push defund or delay? Either way, Democrats know that we will blink first. Why not start out strong a few weeks out instead of negotiating with ourselves?
Call your members and ask them to support Rep. Tom Grave’s bill, which would fully fund the government while defunding Obamacare – lock, stock and barrel. Republicans promised to defund Obamacare when they took over Congress. They failed half a dozen times. This is the last chance. If they are not up to the task, they need to be repealed and replaced.