Posts Tagged ‘John Boehner’
The Headlines say it all “Boehner offers debt-ceiling increase in cliff compromise” or “Boehner Reported to Offer Millionaire Tax Rate Increase.” Yet behind the headlines the meat of the stories shows House Speaker Boehner once again folding like a house of cards before President Obama and the Progressive juggernaut.
Concerning the debt ceiling, while Mr. Obama wants a blank check Mr. Boehner offers to push any debate over the federal debt limit off until 2014. This is a concession effectively depriving Republicans of any leverage in the current budget battle over the looming fiscal cliff. However it is said to be breathing new life into stalled talks with the triumphant Obama Outfit that has taken control of America. Nothing like surrendering your best cards before the game is over unless it’s accepting the opponent’s major demand before serious negotiations really begin as in the case of the tax rate increase.
According to news reports Speaker Boehner has offered to let tax rates rise on higher incomes. However, the trusty Republican negotiator isn’t offering that without demanding something in return. He is demanding unspecified changes in the entitlement spending that is sinking the government in red ink. Increasing tax rates now for promises of spending cuts later; how could that ever go wrong? Except for every time it has ever been tried, besides being exactly what the Obama Organization offered, this same bait-and-switch scam tripped up President Reagan in 1982 and Bush the Elder in 1990.
Like Charley Brown trying to kick the football over and over again only to have Lucy pull it away; each time the Democrats keep running the same play and the Republicans keep falling for it. This brings us to the question of the day, “Are Democrats smarter than Republicans?”
I was a fourth generation Republican who cut my teeth in Barry Goldwater’s failed Presidential bid and then in Nixon’s first presidential campaign back in 1960. I worked for Goldwater, Reagan, and all the following Conservative flag wavers who tried to rally the country to a return to limited government, personal liberty, and economic freedom. That is I did until Trent Lott’s Republican Senate Majority gave us the impeachment debacle and the explosion of government growth and spending under Hastert, Lott, and Bush. When the Republican Senate refused to impeach President Clinton for crimes he later admitted and when they and their House brethren became Democrat Lite as the party of power, I mailed my membership card to the party that was no longer the Grand Old Party of my great grandfather and became an Independent.
For most of my life I was a party man: accepting some things I didn’t agree with for the greater good of electing a party with a platform I could agree with. However, once it became apparent that as far as the budget went we had elected the foxes to watch the hen house, that the conservative social agenda received a tip-of-the-hat during elections followed by no action, and that the only victims of the impeachment were those brave enough to bring the charges the scales fell from my eyes. Once I saw that the Republicans had lost their moorings and were swilling at the public trough, I realized the platform we conservatives battle so hard for and hold so dear is merely a mirage held in front of social and fiscal conservatives to keep them loyal to a Party captured by the Progressives.
Back in the Dream Time, when my mind was still locked in the glow of Ronald Reagan and all his example and message meant to America, even then I wondered, “What’s wrong with these leaders of ours? Why do the Democrats always seem to outsmart them at every turn?”
Even Reagan, the best of the best, was hoodwinked by Tip O’Neal in the amnesty bargain: we would grant amnesty and then seal the border. The problem is the illegal immigrants got the amnesty; however, America’s border was never sealed. He also signed several tax deals with the Democratic majority. We the People lost many deductions in exchange for lower rates. The deductions never came back even though the rates started rising again as soon as the Gipper said good night and George the First forgot to read his own lips.
George Bush the Elder was out maneuvered by the Progressives so many times that 20% of his base ran to Perot opening the door for Clinton and the first attempt to ram national health care down America’s throat. That time they overplayed their hand and the last great strategist among the Republicans, Newt Gingrich, was able to sell a Contract with America and bring the first Republican majority in Congress in 40 years.
Newt kept the promises and brought some fiscal sanity back to Washington. Within a few short years the Republican led Congress ended welfare as we had known it for generations and balanced the budget. Unfortunately the Party of Lincoln then nominated someone who campaigned as if he had voted for Lincoln. The 1996 Republican campaign would have had to improve several thousand percent to make it to dull. Suddenly, with an assist from the Corporations Once Known as the Mainstream Media it was Clinton, who had been dragged kicking and screaming to the benefit and spending cutting table, who was the author of everything positive Congress had accomplished. The Republicans had been outmaneuvered and outsmarted again.
According to every one of the serial re-counts Bush the younger won Florida and legitimately the presidential race of 2000. Yet, to this day people talk of him being selected not elected. After the dastardly deeds of 9-11 the rhetorically-challenged George captured the hearts of America and the admiration of the Western world by taking a bullhorn and talking to a crowd at ground zero. Yet by fighting and winning America’s first preemptive war and then losing the peace through the lack of planning he soon lost the PR campaign which led to the Pelosi-Reid Congress in 2006 and eventually to the absolute triumph of Progressivism in 2008.
Once their secular messiah was enthroned at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue the Progressives with their filibuster proof majority took the reins of single-party rule and imposed their radical agenda to transform America into a Nanny-state based upon the re-distribution of wealth. This wanton destruction of the traditional American society based on limited government and free enterprise sparked a vast rebellion of the silent majority resulting in the teanami of 2010 which brought a Republican majority back to the People’s House and an expanded minority to the Senate.
And what is the first thing these political savants do? They reaffirm the same tired leadership and strike a deal that anyone who was paying attention could see was tailor made to save the discredited Obama presidency and set the stage for him to follow in Mr. Clinton’s footsteps taking credit for anything good the historic election might have made possible. What were these so-called leaders thinking? They turned the victory of the grassroots into capitulation. Not only did they sign a deal that extended uncertainty and raised estate taxes, they gave the Administration cover for a stealth stimulus filled with pork designed to help re-elect the President.
Along comes 2012 and the Republican establishment and their friends in the Progressive Media engineer the nomination of the one man who couldn’t beat the worst president in American History with the worst economy since 1932. They surrender the issue of a massively unpopular Obamacare by nominating the author of its prototype. Mr. Romney spends the last debate agreeing with the President’s handling of foreign policy and ignoring the raging controversy over the debacle in Benghazi. If he didn’t throw the election he tossed it away.
So, “Are Democrats smarter than Republicans?” The answer is they aren’t. It isn’t a matter of intelligence it’s a matter of people with dedication to something larger than themselves, as opposed to people with dedication to seeing themselves as something larger than they are.
The leadership of the Democrats is committed radical Progressives. They have a long term agenda to transform America into a socialist welfare state with an unlimited government, and they never lose sight of that goal. They’re willing to commit political suicide, or more accurately they’re willing to encourage their follow travelers who do not occupy safe seats to commit political suicide. They never take their eyes off the ball. They’re constantly pushing to move closer to the goal line even if it’s one inch at a time.
By comparison, the leadership of the Republicans is composed of professional politicians. They’re pragmatists who do whatever they have to do and say whatever they have to say to retain their seats, their power, and their perks. They believe the inside the beltway press who tell them how visionary they are to compromise, losing sight of those back home in fly-over country who instead believed the campaign promises and expect their representatives to stand up for principles.
The Party of Lincoln over-and-over chooses to be on the receiving end of Pickett’s Charge instead of behind the spit-rail fence firing point blank as their enemy wastes itself in a senseless charge against an immovable barrier. The Republicans still control the House. They could be that immovable barrier holding back the advancing forces of bankruptcy and collapse. Instead the Progressives of the right have once again embraced the Progressives of left in a bi-partisan campaign to continue the spending, increase the debt, and fool the public.
Paraphrasing the first Republican President, Historian Will Durant once wisely observed, “It may be true that you can’t fool all the people all the time, but you can fool enough of them to rule a large country.”
Dr. Owens teaches History, Political Science, and Religion. He is the Historian of the Future @ http://drrobertowens.com © 2012 Robert R. Owens email@example.com Follow Dr. Robert Owens on Facebook or Twitter @ Drrobertowens / Edited by Dr. Rosalie Owens
Back in the Dream Time, when my mind was still locked in the glow of Ronald Reagan and all his example and message meant to America even then I wondered, “What’s wrong with these leaders of ours? Why do the Democrats always seem to outsmart them at every turn?”
Defying a White House veto threat, the House on Wednesday passed legislation that extends transportation program funding through September and mandates construction of a controversial oil pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast.
All but 14 Republicans, with support from 69 Democrats, voted 293-127 for legislation that falls far short of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) earlier plan to move a sweeping five-year, $260 billion package.
But Boehner’s retreat serves two crucial tactical and political purposes for the Speaker. It sets up talks with the Senate on the highway bill and keeps the Keystone pipeline — a centerpiece of GOP attacks on White House energy policy — front and center ahead of the November election.
Speaker of the House John Boehner lambasted President Obama for rejecting the Keystone XL pipeline during a press conference on Wednesday. “President Obama expedited approval of the Solyndra loan project, but won’t approve a project that’s been under review for over three years.”
“President Obama is destroying tens of thousands of American jobs and shipping American energy security to the Chinese,” Boehner exclaimed. “There’s really no other way to put it. The President is selling out American jobs for politics. The President was given the authority to block this project only and only if he believed it was not in the national interest of the United States. It’s not in the national interest to create tens of thousands of jobs here in America with private investment? The President has said he’ll do anything he can to create jobs, today, that promise was broken.”
RELATED: Report: Obama Administration To Reject Keystone XL Pipeline
President Obama defended himself in a statement saying Republican’s hurried deadline on the issue forced him to make the decision.
“The rushed and arbitrary deadline insisted on by Congressional Republicans prevented a full assessment of the pipeline’s impact, especially the health and safety of the American people, as well as our environment,” Obama wrote. “I’m disappointed that Republicans in Congress forced this decision, but it does not change my Administration’s commitment to American-made energy that creates jobs and reduces our dependence on oil.”
The Wall Street Journal APRIL 14, 2011
Obama and Ryan agree: This is a “defining moment”
They say America is politically divided. But in the days following the appearance of Paul Ryan’s GOP budget in the firmament last week, the planets of political debate finally aligned. We were all agreed: The issues before us were the future of federal spending, the future of federal entitlement programs, and the future of federal taxes. The terms set, the debate would proceed—after the president of the United States addressed the subject in a major speech on the nation’s fiscal future.
Instead, Barack Obama at George Washington University poisoned the well. Where is Rahm Emanuel when we need him? Mr. Emanuel was Little Lord Fauntleroy compared to the tone of discourse Bill Daley loosed on the body politic. What Mr. Obama delivered yesterday was a campaign speech, and a petty rank one at that.
After Republicans won the House in November, the question was whether a standard-issue politician named John Boehner had it in him to rise to the responsibility of being Speaker of the House. There’s near universal agreement he has.
As if in some reverse force-field, Barack Obama, who so impressed the nation with his demeanor and stature as presidential candidate in 2008, has suddenly decided to engage the great fiscal debate at the level of a vice-presidential attack dog. Spiro Agnew, the presidency has finally caught up with you.
The expectation in Washington was that the president would offer a kind of “white paper” of his views on spending and deficits. What he delivered instead was an invitation to the Gunfight at the OK Corral. So be it. And maybe just as well.
In all the pages Paul Ryan produced for his budget, its most important five words were: “This is a defining moment.” The president proved that yesterday.
The question voters are going to have to come to grips with between now and November 2012 is, Who do they trust to take the U.S. forward into the 21st century?
After spending about a decade getting a feel for the realities of a new century—itself defined by a constant state of financial and physical vulnerability—Americans next year have to decide which of their institutions are most likely to take the nation forward to a successful result. Is it Democrats or Republicans, Washington or the states, the public sector or private sector?
The Ryan-GOP budget’s core goal is to pare spending as a percentage of GDP to 20%. Mr. Obama, referring obliquely yesterday to his two successive $3-trillion-plus budgets as “emergency steps,” has reset federal spending at 24% of GDP.
With annual national output now at $14 trillion, within those four points of GDP are trillions of dollars of public spending and taxation decisions. Inside those four points, you can define and decide the nation’s future.
At 24%, you are entrusting the trillions to Washington, the Democratic Party and the public sector—a triumvirate Mr. Obama yesterday referred to as “we,” as in, “we will not abandon the fundamental commitment this country has kept for generations.”
At 20%, you’re entrusting that wealth to someone else. That someone else is either the private sector or the 50 separate states. This would expand the meaning of “we.”
The Ryan Medicaid proposal illuminates the choice. He’d allow individual states to decide how to spend their share of federal Medicaid trillions. Nearly everyone agrees that Medicaid needs rehab. It’s destroying state budgets, doctors shun it, and the poor are driven to the mayhem of emergency rooms for routine care.
Someone has to decide how to spend those Medicaid trillions and repair the program. That someone will continue to be whoever shows up for work every day at the offices of HHS’s Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at 200 Independence Ave. in Washington—aka “we.” Or it will be 50 different teams assigned to figure out a fix appropriate to their states. The left says that “they,” the states, would throw the poor into the streets. This is 2011. Either you believe that the states are stuck in 1933, or you don’t.
The central trust issue is taxes. The Ryan budget proposes a maximum tax rate of 25% for individuals and corporations. The president dragged the “millionaires and billionaires” onto the stage yesterday for another round of pistol-whipping (three mentions of the shameless duo).
It may be that Mr. Obama is obsessed by this subject, but that misses what he really wants. Since FDR, the Democrats (and Washington) have depended on maintaining a tax system with no identifiable ceiling. Taxes can always “rise.” Simpson-Bowles or anything likely to emerge from Rep. Dave Camp’s Ways and Means Committee would formalize a rate ceiling. Reviling “the wealthiest” is most of all a tactic to prevent what would be a Democratic catastrophe. Simpson-Bowles would reorder economic and political power away from Washington and out toward the states and their millions of non-millionaire citizens.
Simpson-Bowles was clear about that. Paul Ryan was explicit. So yesterday was Barack Obama. “We,” Washington, gotta have that money.
It was a useful speech. A defining moment.
The Wall treet Journal MARCH 28, 2011 By FRED BARNES
The incremental approach is working and embarrassing Democrats. Why should the GOP risk a government shutdown? Some of the most disgruntled folks in Washington these days are conservative Republicans in Congress. They believe their party has abandoned the cause of deep spending cuts that spurred the Republican landslide in the 2010 midterm election. They say their leaders are needlessly settling for small, incremental cuts.
Moreover, this demand for bigger cuts and defunding of liberal programs—immediately—comes from prominent members of the House, not just excitable freshmen. “This is our mice or men moment,” according to Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota. Allowing Democrats more time to negotiate “will only delay a confrontation that must come,” said Rep. Mike Pence of Indiana. Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, chairman of the House Study Committee, added: “We’ve made some solid first downs. Now it’s time to look to the end zone.”
The end zone is far away, however, and impatience won’t get Republicans there. Impatience is not a strategy. It may lead to a government shutdown with unknown results. To enact the sweeping cuts they desire, Republicans must hold the House and capture the Senate and White House in the 2012 election. Then they’ll control Washington. Now they don’t.
In the meantime, the incremental strategy is working. Republicans have passed two short-term measures to keep the government in operation since early March while slashing $10 billion in spending. At this rate, they would achieve the target of GOP congressional leaders of lopping off $61 billion from President Obama’s proposed budget in the final seven months of the 2011 fiscal year.
There’s every reason to believe the incremental strategy would continue to succeed. Democrats are flummoxed by it. They’d like to block more cuts, but they’ve been unable to explain why spending reductions of a few billion dollars at a clip are unacceptable. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid tried, only to embarrass himself by saying Nevada’s cowboy poetry festival might be jeopardized. Mr. Obama has prudently declined to wade in.
Democrats have themselves to blame for their predicament. They failed to pass a 2011 budget last year, and this year Republicans are taking revenge. By sticking together at the lame duck session in December, Senate Republicans managed to keep spending at last year’s levels. Now the GOP is cutting from that baseline.
The latest extension expires on April 8, around the time Paul Ryan, chairman of the House Budget Committee, releases the Republican budget for 2012—giving the GOP another opportunity for a serious whack at spending. And in May or June, Mr. Obama will ask for a hike in the debt limit, one more juncture at which Republicans can press for spending cuts and budget reforms.
Nevertheless, Republican dissidents fear jumbling proposed budgets with the debt issue will confuse voters and allow Democrats to block cuts. It might. At the same time, Republicans would be looking at a target-rich environment for cuts that reduce the size and reach of Washington.
This is all the more reason for the GOP not to provoke a government shutdown. Yet dissatisfied Republicans are willing to risk one by opposing further short-term extensions of spending. Fifty-four House Republicans voted against the three-week extension passed on March 15. “Nobody wants a government shutdown, but unless we take a stand, we will shut down the future of our children and grandchildren,” Mr. Pence said.
Would a shutdown give Republicans more muscle in negotiating for cuts? Some Republicans speculate it would “clarify” the sharp differences between what Republicans are seeking and what Democrats want, prompting most Americans to side with Republicans. Maybe it would. But it might not.
One thing Republicans know for sure is how to cause a shutdown: Demand more than Democrats will ever agree to. So long as they control the Senate and White House, Democrats will reject massive cuts. Republicans also want to bar spending for Planned Parenthood, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and Mr. Obama’s health-care program. Attach any of these prohibitions to a spending measure and Democratic opposition is certain. Should Republicans insist, we’ll get a government shutdown.
This is a big gamble. While some Democrats are leery of the political reaction in the country at large, others see it as their best hope. Indeed it might discredit Republicans and boost Mr. Obama in the same way the shutdown in 1995 hurt Republicans and lifted President Bill Clinton out of the doldrums. It could alienate independent voters so critical to the Republican triumph in 2010.
True enough, the political atmosphere is more favorable to serious spending reductions than it was 16 years ago. And though Mr. Obama has the biggest megaphone, he’s often unpersuasive. So a shutdown might be easier for the public to swallow today. But why take a chance?
One answer: A good chunk of the conservative movement is egging Republicans on. The House speaker has been accused of playing a weak hand. “I think John Boehner has basically climbed into the Bob Dole suit,” columnist Mark Steyn told talk radio host Hugh Hewitt. “Arguing over itsy-bitsy, half a billion here and half a billion there . . . is preposterous.”
But it may not be if it’s the most you can get under current circumstances. What’s unsatisfying to many conservatives is most likely the best Republicans can achieve in 2011. “Public opinion seems to support Republican efforts to cut spending without shutting down the government,” notes Keith Hennessey, former domestic policy adviser to President George W. Bush, and some recent polls back him up. Mr. Hennessey supports a gradualist strategy. “Don’t change tactics,” he says. “Just ratchet up your demands a little.”
That makes sense. What doesn’t is sacrificing spending cuts you can get on the altar of those you can’t.
Mr. Barnes is executive editor of the Weekly Standard and a commentator on Fox News Channel.
The Wall Street Journal MARCH 25, 2011. By KIMBERLEY A. STRASSEL
House Speaker John Boehner
President Barack Obama is going on a week into military action in Libya. If he doesn’t start explaining how and why, he’s going to be fighting a rearguard action in Congress.
Commanders in chief are rightly accorded broad power to unilaterally order American military force. The smart ones understand they need to garner public and congressional support. Congress’s backing is particularly crucial, given that body’s own authority to play havoc with a military undertaking. In today’s partisan political environment, presidential wooing is even more important.
Mr. Obama, so recently a U.S. senator, knows better than most how that dynamic can play ugly (see Obama vs. Bush on Iraq and Afghanistan). It is therefore remarkable that this White House has made such a hash of its handling of Congress, vis-a-vis Libya. Consider it one consequence of waging war by international committee. More on that later.
The speed and size of the congressional revolt is notable. In less than a week, the Peace Caucus has predictably got up and running, with Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich whipping up Mr. Obama’s professional left. The Who-Do-You-Think-You-Are Caucus is bellowing that the president did not get an official vote from Congress for military action. The Cost Caucus—a new potent force in the form of dozens of freshmen Republican elected to cut budgets—is already complaining about the price of military action in Libya.
Some of this is predictable griping. The Obama team’s bigger mistake has been its mishandling of everyone else—the bulk of Republicans, who are at least open to supporting action, as well the majority of Democrats, who feel obliged to support Mr. Obama whether on principle or for political reasons.
Most of this crowd was already alarmed by two months of haphazard White House policy on Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain. It last week watched the administration move from being a skeptic of intervention to a proponent of military strikes in Libya—in a matter of hours. The president offered these members no explanation for the flip. He also failed to partake in the traditional courtesy of consulting congressional leaders, or flattering their egos with a request for their advice on the coming action.
Instead, a few hours before the bombs flew, the White House perfunctorily informed lawmakers of what it had already decided to do. Mr. Obama then decamped to Latin America, leaving the legislative branch in a vacuum. Who is in charge? Who are our partners? What are we attacking? What is the goal? How long? Can Gadhafi stay? If not, who next? The White House has offered no answers to these questions, though Press Secretary Jay Carney did use a recent briefing to complain that Congress shouldn’t be complaining, since it was Congress that pushed the administration to act. Now there’s a way to make congressional friends.
For now, many in Congress remain open to supporting this effort. But the perception of disarray—the sight of Secretary of Defense Robert Gates suggesting the Libya campaign has been done “on the fly”—is putting enormous political pressure on Republicans to be seen to be exercising oversight. It’s asking a lot of House Speaker John Boehner to provide the president cover for a mission the president seems unwilling to articulate.
Mr. Boehner all but made that point with a tough letter this week, which the White House would be wise to use as a guide to the questions that need answering. The president has had something of a pass during this week of congressional recess, but the members are back on Monday—all the better to form ranks. There is already talk of hearings, investigations, a big fight over the Pentagon’s budget. Republican leaders will have to work to keep some of this in check, and they are going to need a reason to work.
The president faces just as big a risk from his Democrats. Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi stepped up to defend the president this week—somebody had to. Lest the White House has forgotten, its party took a “shellacking” last year, and dozens of prominent and vulnerable Democrats are looking out for No. 1. It might not take much to send them bolting from their own president—which will further dissuade Republicans from sticking.
This is what comes from waging war through the United Nations. The White House was determined not to move on Libya unless it could hide behind a U.N. resolution. The best that multinational body could muster was a vague and confused resolution backing efforts to stop Gadhafi from slaughtering civilians. That resolution, Mr. Obama’s rationale for action, is now his constraint. To answer Congress’s questions would require thinking and resolving beyond the U.N. remit. He’s unwilling to do so.
The president seems instead to be hoping he can quickly hand this off to some other leader of the free world, and move on. But a failure in Libya will only bring more congressional questions. Better to define an actual U.S. strategy—one that can succeed—while Congress is still willing to listen.