Many of us thought John Boehner would not turn back from the negotiating table. But he did. The media is a real tizzy trying to explain it. As is typical, they're dumbing it down. Boehner backing away from the negotiating table (1) had nothing to do with tea party opposition, (2) nothing to do with fears of helping Barack Obama's re-election, and (3) nothing to do with fear of crossing Grover Norquist and his tax pledge.Boehner left the table because he and the Republicans in Congress actually, factually believe raising taxes would be a bad idea. President Obama says the taxes he wants to raise are off a ways in 2013 or 2014. But Republicans understand that businesses and employers knowing their profits will fall in a few years will start making cuts today to preserve their net profits tomorrow. It'd be bad for the economy.What's more, John Boehner did offer up a plan — it sounds like he is embracing the policy pledge inspired by Senator DeMint, i.e. "Cut, Cap, and Balance."Here's what the Speaker said at his press conference:
The American people will not accept, and the House cannot pass, a bill that raises taxes on job creators. The House can only pass a debt limit bill that includes spending cuts larger than the hike in the debt limit as well as real restraints on future spending. My colleagues and I feel we should enact a balanced budget amendment to keep the federal government from spending us into the same situation again. I think we also need real reductions in spending right now and spending caps to ensure that progress we make is not undone in the future… A bill that doesn’t meet these tests can’t pass the House of Representatives.
This is a good position to stake out. Now the GOP needs to move forward on it. But they also will need to hold the line.This is a very simple political equation. In normal politics, votes are had and votes are lost and politicians move on. Cut, Cap, and Balance will not pass Congress and, even if it did, would not make it passed a veto.In normal politics, the GOP would vote, lose, and move on. But normal politics got us to this point. If this is the gravest crisis we face and our future as a nation depends on it, the GOP must throw out the normal political playbook. They must make clear that this is not a negotiation.Cut, Cap, and Balance is an ultimatum.