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The House GOP caucus: Bloodied (yes)….but unbowed?(perhaps)…. and recalling the wisdom of Wm. F. Buckley, Jr.

From the dawn of armed conflict, through the Vietnam era, every general recognized that any military unit, be it a regiment, battalion, or an entire army, needed to be “bloodied” the first time it went into action and confronted the enemy, before the unit could evolve into an effective fighting force.

Yesterday, in the House, the GOP caucus, along with the leadership, was bloodied by Obama and the Democrats. For those who thought that the earlier passage of HR1 was a victory, a big win…well now, you can recalibrate. To continue our military analogy, that was the equivalent of passing in review on the parade grounds….crisp uniforms, tight formations, flags flying, the music playing….all carefully choreographed and predetermined.

Like many here on Red State, when I learned that the $38 billion in cuts had somehow become $383 MILLION, I wasn’t happy.  I think Boehner handled it all wrong. However, I’m going to give the GOP caucus, every last one, a mulligan, for two reasons:

1. Many who were opposed to the CR ended up voting for it (including all but one of the GOP reps who are combat veterans) because they were honestly conflicted about the harm a shudown could do to the troops. Ironically, Allen West, who risked courtmartial because of his actions to save his troops, was the one NO vote. So I hereby absolve all of them.

2. More importantly, it would, IMHO, have been far worse had the bill passed with a majority of the GOP reps voting against it. Perhaps that’s what the Dems were hoping for. It would have been the equivalent of a vote of ‘no confidence’ in Boehner and the leadership; possibly precipitating a palace revolt at a time when the GOP needs to be firmly united for the upcoming debate on the debt ceiling.

Boehner has said repeatedly that any agreement to increase the debt ceiling must, MUST, MUST be accompanied with something ” really, really BIG!”  Well, we’re about to find out just actually how really big “really big” really is.

Given the overwhelmingly negative reaction to Thursday’s passage, from presidential candidates, every Tea Party group, the vast majority of conservative publications; the entire spectrum of the right, Boehner can’t possibly have any doubt about what he must do next.

This is his Rubicon, his line in the sand….call it what you will. The battle lines have been drawn, the troops positioned. The GOP has seen the “take no prisoners” approach of the enemy..first evidenced by the pathologically vituperative comments by House Dems about the Ryan budget; then seeing Obama invite Ryan to sit in the front row at Georgetown for the speech, only to watch him be pilloried. (I hope Justice Alito invites Ryan to breakfast one morning..they can swap war stories.)

Wm F. Buckley founded Nation Review with one clear purpose for the magazine: that it would “stand athwart history, yelling STOP, at a time when no one is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.”

We must stop the spending, and restore fiscal sanity and integrity to our nation. There is no more time to consult, debate, compromise, or kick the can down the road.  There is no choice.  I hope Boehner realizes this. I think he does. We shall see.

Count Alfred von Schlieffen, who developed the eponymous strategy for German Victory in WW I, died before he could witness the outcome. His last words were “remember to keep the right flank strong.”  If he fails to heed the advice, Boehner will not survive either.

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