Plan B Aborted
John Boehner proceeded with Plan B and gave neither assurances nor reassurances that he would fight for meaningful spending cuts or entitlement reforms. He asked Republicans to give up the last plank in their party they had not surrendered in the name of big government without getting anything meaningful from the Democrats.In short, John Boehner has spent two weeks negotiating with himself, ending what amounted to an elaborate bird of paradise mating dance with rejection by his own conference.For two years, House Republican leaders have backtracked from every pledge they’ve made with the American people and, as importantly, with the conservative base. The House GOP has not fought — routinely relying on two excuses: (1) we’ll only get a worse deal and (2) we’re only one house of congress. On top of it all, only two weeks ago John Boehner decided to purge several vocal conservatives from key committees.Last night those conservatives and outside conservative groups too often burned by John Boehner’s broken promises told the Speaker it was time to stop negotiating away their principles.John Boehner is wounded as a Speaker. The conservative movement, the Republican base, and enough of his own Republican Conference have given up trusting John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Kevin McCarthy. The conference was willing to back them all for their positions, but they were not willing to leave conservatives alone.Many on the right liked John Boehner’s Plan B. The conservative media, which craves access to Republican leaders at the expense of their values, fell all over itself to support Plan B. Their argument is very simple — without this, we go over the fiscal cliff and the GOP gets blamed.The fact is the GOP is going to get blamed no matter what. The fact is, if the GOP signaled to the American public it was willing to raise taxes on anyone, Barack Obama would have still rejected their deal and the GOP would still get blamed.So there has never been any reason to pass Plan B as a “messaging” bill because the American public would not accept the message.John Boehner and Mitch McConnell have both been in Washington, DC since the mid-80’s. Barack Obama has not. Americans hate Washington, DC, but they like Barack Obama. Putting veterans of Washington against Barack Obama is not a winning message for the GOP. Plan B would have gotten the GOP nowhere except on the radar of the American public as selling out again.But that’s all done now.John Boehner lost and, in a major irony, the Republican Conference appears more loyal to the Americans for Tax Reform pledge than Americans for Tax Reform itself is.