In the wake of yesterday’s indefensible 81-19 vote in the Senate to spend hundreds of billions of dollars that we do not have in exchange for temporary tax rate extensions we could have achieved anyway or the lapsing of which could have been plopped in the lap of the President, we are left hoping that Republicans in the House of Representatives will stand up and be counted.
After all, we have come to expect Republican Senators to be spineless and incapable of standing up on principle. It is who they are. The “club.” A group of self-promoting, power-hungry fools who are more concerned with maintaining camaraderie with turncoats like Lisa Murkowski, pushing earmarks and getting re-elected than in doing what’s best for the country. Save one or two exceptions, they repeatedly violate their oath to defend the Constitution and forsake even the slightest bit of devotion to fiscal responsibility or respect for their constituents.
But now – especially with rumors that the tax bill has stalled in the House – the House Republicans have a chance to do the right thing and prove they are better than those in the Senate. They can demonstrate that they actually “get it,” even before the 60-odd new members arrive in a few weeks. They can demonstrate they are not liars – that they actually do want to limit spending and defend the Constitution. They can demonstrate that they understand that “bipartisan compromise” is code for “Democrats win, America loses.”
And there’s a bonus, too. President Obama is calling around telling fellow democrats that he must pass this to “save his presidency.” As if there was not a bigger signal that this is a ridiculous “deal.”
How hard is this? You have a bill that unarguably spends bucket-loads of money being jammed through right before Christmas, on the heels of an election when the American people said “quit spending our money.” You have a massive majority coming to the House in 3 weeks and significantly more Senate Republicans, too (for whatever that’s worth). Meanwhile, you have a weak president who is calling around to members of his own party begging for them to sign on.
Hmmm… what to do? Lemme think… Um… VOTE NO, YOU IDIOTS.
But noooo… what do Republicans say? Well that stalwart of nothingness, John Thune, criticizes Mitt Romney for daring to oppose the bill by saying opposition is the same as support for tax increases. And that is the mantra being peddled by every “leadership” staff flack in DC – “you’re going to hurt people by voting to raise taxes!”
What? So, if I am to understand these paragons of fiscal responsibility and devotees to principle correctly, if a Republican opposes any bill that contains a 2 year extension of current rates, no matter what else is in the bill – then that Republican is in favor of tax increases. What if it had been 2 years or 4 years of unemployment insurance? What if it had included Don’t Ask Don’t Tell? What if it spent twice as much money? 4x as much? What if it included a bunch of earmarks? (oh, wait... never mind...)
If House Republicans cannot fight for constraint and reduced spending on something as straight-forward as this, then the new members coming to town should demand new leadership, and we should be readying primary challengers for those who get it wrong.