As the hours drew closer to a government shutdown Friday evening, April 8, 2011, rhetoric from the Democrats became more apocalyptic: "Women will die!" "Seniors will starve!" "Children will go hungry" ,and rhetoric from the Republicans became more guarded and conciliatory. The Republicans could only answer: "This is about cutting spending." ""We must cut the deficit." "Blah, blah, blah."
Guess who won the day? Democrats, of course. And why? because they know how to frame issues to the public that scare and frighten.
The Republicans tried pathetically to save face with apologists like Mike Huckabee and Carl Rove who argued separately on FOX news that funding for the remainder of the year was little more thana distraction. Their advice to Republicans was: drop the riders for specific spending cuts, and just approve a general spending reduction bill for the remainder of the year. And that's what happened. Gone were targeted cuts for the NPR, the EPA and Planned Parenthood. House Speaker John Boehner teared up (God help us) and declared victory. The Republican leadership patted each others backs and called this victory, of sorts.
Victory? Really? Is this how Republicans define victory? Do they really think that the trillion dollar budget battle they will be facing next year will not involve cuts for NPR, EPA or Planned Parenthood? The Republicans buckled and missed the opportunity to engage the public and, as a result, have set in stone the image that the Republican party tried to kill women, starve children and deprive seniors, and were only prevented from doing so by brave Democrats. The Republicans are too extreme, as Chiuck Schumer said, or as he was told to say. And next year is an election year.
The House Sopeaker should tear up -- and so, too, should we.
Country club Republicans, damn you! You have been a drain on the Republican Party for decades with your slippery and veilded Democratic ideals. The time has come to declare your true party, step aside and give the political battlefield over to those who truyly believe in what they are doing and who will fight to victory for a way of life that is gradually slippinig away. Surely, the fight is worth it.
Here's some advice from someone (me) with over 35 years experience as a political strategist: Take every issue the Democrats have and make it yours, so that every time they argue against a cut, Republicans point to the looming financial disaster that is right around the corner. Name thre party responsible for the slide every opportunity you have. The Democrats have been at the forefront of spending our nation into this mess for decades and remember, it was they, not Republicans, who insisted on a half trillion dollar cut in Medicare in Obamacare -- against unanimous Republican opposition.
The message, as unappealing as it is, must be spoken, and spoken with resolve fopr Republicans to persevere. Here it is: if things don't change, the dollar will collapse, prices will rise, there will be massive unemployment and civil unrest: people really will starve as our economic system shuts down and utter chaos becomes the norm of our social and economic future. When the dollar collapses, what currency will we have to buy goods or provide services? The answer is, None! What subsidy will be saved if the doillar collapses? The answer is, none. It's the public's choice: go with Democrats and riekless spending and the nation will be doomed.
When the Democrats talk of investing in the economy they are talking about deficit spending money we don't have in the foolish and utterly irresponsible belief that spending money we don't have is good for the economy.
Here's a question Republicans should be asking the president and the Democrats in congress: What will happen to our seniors who depend on care if the econbomy collapses? What about children and schools? If the dollar collapses, who will teach? What about our hospitals and doctors that depend on reimbursement for medical care? Not a single of the thousands of subsidies will survive the collapse of the dolar: the American system will implode when there is a complete and catastrophic shutdown of income. This is the future as the Democrats have backed us into with their rickless spending. It is a bleak and dismal prospect, and as sure to happen if things don't change as the sun rising in the east.
The message from Republicans must be firm and honest: economic collapse is guaranteed, sooner rather than later, if the Democrats don't stop spending money we don't have. Just as an ndividual or family cannot survive reckless spending; neither can this government. In the past Republicans, along with willing Democrats, shared much of the blame as they spent as if there was no tomrorrow -- and that's the poiunt: there will be no tomorrow if things don't change.
Not a single Republic picked the president up when he declared after the bill was signed, that necessary infrastructire improvements would have to be cut -- bridges, roads, damns etc., but that NPR, Planned Parenthood and the EPA must remain inviolate. Really? Dopes the public understand this?
The Republicans lost the first round and may not be able to recover, since they showed their mettle: none! Not one Republican reminbded the public that only the President has the power to shut down government, not the congress. The message from Republicans should have been: if the Democrats in the senate won't authorize spending because they want to spend this country ninto economic meltdown and financial disaster, then they can take the blame along qith the president.
Here's the message we should have heard, but didn't: "We passed the budget, its now up to the Democrats in the senate to get on board and fund the government. We can do no more. If the Democrats won't act and, instead, insist on spending money we don't have, the President will have to speak with them, not us. The future of this country is in the balance and the President and Democrats need to step up and act like adults."
Lastly, a word to the Republican leadership. Don't ever yield the platform in this battle to the President. Don't ever allow the President to take to the podium, as happened out of misplaced deference to the office, to cast the political fight in a light most favorable to him, which he did every time he took the podium. He is responsible for this mess we are in and he never misses the opportunity to make Republicans look as if they are the demons. The House Speaker and Minority leader in the senate need to step up to the podium at the end of every negotiation and tell the public their side. The President is a partisan, make no mistake about it. He is leading this nation to economic ruin and financial disaster. Never yield a chance to go to the people and say this as often as you can and make the case in the same apocalyptic termas as the Democrats.
In conclusion: Extending the budget for the remainder of the year was the battle, not what's goiung to happen next year. The Republicans were wrong to listen to the likes of Rove and Huckabee who were and are wrong. If Republicans can't win the skirmish; what hope do any of us have of winning the major battle that is comeing? My answer is almost none!