From the diaries by Jeff
As a friend of mine recently put it, I join the gentleman from Texas’s remarks, and know that I cannot surpass them. I would, however, like to add something to them.
Any honest reckoning of the budget deal the House GOP appears to have reached must view it as a result of negotiations in which one side — the Democrats — believed they had the upper hand, and the other — the GOP — agreed. From the start, the brain trust that nominally holds the majority in the House made clear that they would brutally knife their own mothers to avoid a shutdown, because the memory of the last is burned into their pathetic neurons for all of time, and they believe they’ll suffer the way the last Republican majority did. I don’t believe that’s an accurate assessment of the likely fallout of the shutdown the submorons on the Hill clearly felt they needed to avoid, and I’ll discuss that, but we all need to remember: This is our fault, yours and mine, and every activist’s and voter’s who helped these clowns get elected.
That’s sort of counterintuitive, isn’t it? It isn’t, if you think about it.
In 2006, most of the same cretins currently patting themselves on the back for convincing yet another Republican constituency not to show up for the 2012 elections were chosen by the House GOP to bravely march the caucus into a giant punji pit. After the bloodletting that year, chastened by their losses, the House GOP promptly … re-elected the same group.
After bumbling their way through the TARP debate — Eric Cantor covered himself in glory by wasting time proposing that TARP be structured as insurance, sort of like selling homeowner’s insurance to the guy whose house is a four-alarm blaze — and taking the Palin-reinvigorated McCain campaign into the toilet with them, thus managing to take more losses in the House and damn any chance at a Presidential win, the House GOP … re-elected the same group.
But! Chastened by their repeated drubbings, shown by the Tea Party that the same-old, same-old could not continue, knowing in their hearts of hearts that they weren’t being given the majority so much as the Democrats were having it taken away, the House GOP boldly set out to forge a new path by … re-electing the same group.
And guess which group of chuckleheads kept working for, fundraising for, doorknocking for, and oh yeah, voting for, the Mensa subset on the Hill? If your monitor isn’t backlit, you can probably see their reflections in the surface of what you’re reading.
So! We sent a group of frightened boys into negotiation with things that look and act like men, including Nancy Pelosi. And look at the results. Show of hands: Who’s surprised?
Oh, they say: No. This is just the first step. Look at these cuts! They’re real cuts! (Sorta.) And now we can move on to important things, like the FY2012 budget and … other stuff, on which, this time, we won’t cave, Honest Injun.
Let me tell you why that’s horsehockey.
To paraphrase Maggie Thatcher, the story of modern democracies is the left’s consistent turning of a screw into our collective gut, and when the right takes power, we don’t unscrew, we just hold the screw in place while we bleed to death. Each budgetary negotiation is not a discrete act, but is rather a process of setting the baseline for the next round.
In an ideal world, realizing that the public is, for the first time, actually seriously concerned about spending, and knowing that, inter alia, the House GOP would have gone in and told the Democrats that they were welcome to shut down the government to protect funding babykillers and to keep bleeding the Treasury dry, but they’d have the albatross around their necks for it. Would the Democrats have blinked? Good question. Their cretins believe that Bill Clinton won in 1996 because of the shutdown. (The ambivalent effects on Congressional seats are a bit more attenuated in their “minds.”) Would our message have prevailed? Also a good question. The mainstream media would have played this as “Republicans shut down the government to deny women mammograms,” but this isn’t the Nineties. We have different message channels than we used to, and anyone who doubts that need only ask if the words “death panels” would have entered the public lexicon if the New York Times had anything to say about it.
Instead, surprise! We gave up virtually everything for total cuts less than at least some Democrats publicly announced they would have yielded.
(But the troops! The troops wouldn’t have been funded!
Bzzt. No. The House GOP had the option to make their funding a separate bill, decided to play chicken with the troops’ paychecks, and then veered.)
So you say, but we’ll get them in FY2012! Let me ask you a serious question: Why on Earth would you think those negotiations will end differently? The House GOP just put a giant KICK ME sign on its collective rear. This negotiation is the baseline for the next, which unfortunately doesn’t mean bigger-and-better cuts, it means the Democrats know that they need only hold out until the next shutdown looms (or pick your crisis, really) and they know that the spineless weenies will cave in no time flat.
This is a war. We just ceded enormous ground in the first, pivotal battle because we were worried that we may lose other positions. Our troops are going to ask, not unreasonably, if our army couldn’t be bothered to advance the primary goal for which they were sent into the field, why we should think they’d bother with the others.
That is the hill on which we should be willing to die: Getting this monstrosity of a hole we’re leaving our children and grandchildren under control, even if it just means stopping the digging. Making the Democrats take ownership of funding with public money the murder of the unborn. Proving ourselves serious and committed and willing to take a knife in the chest to slice the other guy’s carotid (or femoral or whichever artery you prefer), knowing that knife will hurt but the other guy is gonna be on the edge of death for a long time after.