While we’ve all been focused on the Administration’s schizophrenia over Libya, there is another political battle being fought in the halls of Congress over the budget.The starting point for this is this report from Emily Miller at Human Events. The key take away is that “the Senate Republicans are preparing to tell President Obama that they want a Balanced Budget Amendment (BBA) to the Constitution passed in Congress in exchange for raising the statuary debt ceiling above $14.2 trillion.”We can now turn to my friend Dan Mitchell who explains exactly how stupid this GOP strategy is. The GOP, in exchange for increasing the debt ceiling, is not saying “give us the BBA or no debt ceiling increase.” The GOP is instead saying “give us a vote on it.”Well, as Dan further points out, the GOP already got a vote on the BBA on March 2nd and it failed. So, the GOP is saying, “Let us lose another vote on the BBA in exchange for a debt ceiling increase or else.” Or else what?This is stupid for a variety of reasons and Dan Mitchell sums them up pretty succinctly.The GOP is not telling the Democrats they actually want the Balanced Budget Amendment, just a vote. This is wholly unacceptable. If Barack Obama wants to increase the debt ceiling, the GOP should go all or nothing — they must have their Balanced Budget Amendment in exchange for it. A vote is utter nonsense without a commitment from the Democrats to pass it by a two-thirds vote from both Houses.But it gets more insane from there. Everything we feared, everything we knew would happen, is coming to fruition.Let’s start with the contra-indicator that we are right: Fred Barnes. Fred is the guy who coined the term “big government conservative” as a way to defend Bush’s big government agenda. I like him very much, but he has become the guy the GOP leaders go to so he can parrot their talking points with a veneer of “conservatives are okay with us.” They typically do that when they are behaving badly.So Fred Barnes tells us not to panic because Republicans are winning the budget fight. That means precisely that the GOP is losing the budget fight.How are we losing the budget fight? Well, for actual reporting let’s go to CNN’s Dana Bash who tells us that we are yet again at an impasse and on the verge of a government shutdown.Why? Because the GOP is finally being forced by the base to push for actual, substantive spending cuts instead of the death by a thousand paper cuts strategy of the leadership. That necessitated the Barnes column where he advocates for the leadership’s incremental spending cuts strategy.Luckily for us, conservatives made such a stink about the last short term CR being, in fact, the last short term CR, the GOP is now forced to be a leader. The leaders are, however, reluctant.Look, it is very simple — demand passage of a balanced budget amendment, defund Obamacare and Planned Parenthood, and if the Democrats balk, shut the government down.Unfortunately for you and me, the GOP leadership is scared to death of and hell bent on avoiding a government shutdown. They may have no choice, so they better get ready.Fred Barnes’s pitch that the GOP is winning is the best indication yet that the GOP is about to lose. They are left now rolling the budget debate into the debt ceiling debate and insisting not on passage of a balanced budget amendment, but on a vote on a balanced budget amendment.Hey, I know! Why don’t they get the Democrats to vote on defunding Obamacare too instead of, you know, actually defunding it.