Friday, July 15, 2011

There's a Battle Going On

From Erick Erickson at Red State in his letter to House Republicans:

"Now is a time for choosing. Now is your time for choosing.As I pointed out to John Boehner yesterday, despite what the pundits in Washington are telling you, it is you and not Obama who hold most of the cards. Obama has a legacy to worry about. Should the United States lose its bond rating, it will be called the “Obama Depression”. Congress does not get pinned with this stuff...

"Finally, and here is my big point — you have to win this fight. If you do not win this fight, there will be no more chances to turn back government. Why? Because President Obama is holding senior citizens hostage with their social security checks.If the President can force your hand by using entitlements as a lever to punish the American people if you don’t do as he wants, you will have established this as a precedent. From here on out, if you lose this fight, every time you balk at expanding government, social security checks will be withheld, medicare payments will be withheld, and in just a few short years, surgeries will be cancelled, vaccinations withheld, and hospitals shuttered...
"You must win this fight. You must show you are not afraid. When Ben Bernanke brings the Grim Reaper in on August 1st to tell you we are all going to die, you must mock death and choose life — not bipartisan compromises that will keep growing government and ever more rapidly turn this nation into a third class banana republic. In short, you must hold the freaking line!
"Now, some of you, if you have read this far, are saying, “But in 1995, the Republicans got blamed for shutting down the government.” They did. But that’s because Americans detest losers. And Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole threw in the towel instead of fighting. Their will broke. They did not break the President’s will. Of course, the next year the GOP still only lost 9 House seats and actually gained Senate seats. Imagine what would have happened had they broken the President’s will...
"House Republicans, this is a time for choosing: Do you choose to be more courageous than the Democrats who were willing to risk defeat to advance socialism? Is keeping your job more important to you than saving the country? If so, the odds are you will both lose your job and lose your country.
"This is a time for choosing. Choose wisely."
There are 435 House members: 243 Republicans and 192 Democrats. How many Republicans will follow Erickson's call to jihad and will vote against a Reid-McConnell debt ceiling bill, which looks like the most likely way to move the debt ceiling up by August 2? Could they defeat a bill? I don't think so, but the fact that it is conceivable says a lot about our politics and even more about Republicans.
I think Republicans realize they are in trouble: a just out Quinnipiac poll shows two thirds of Americans and almost half of Republicans want a balanced approach (spending cuts and revenue increases) in a debt ceiling deal; the same poll says Americans will blame Republicans over Obama 48%-34% if the debt ceiling is not raised; the Wall Street Republican contingent is hammering McConnell to corral the fanatics and raise the debt-ceiling post-haste; McConnell's plan has been opposed by conservative pundits and lawmakers, most recently Jim DeMint, who just vowed to defeat it; Speaker Boehner's power has been frontally challenged by Eric Cantor on the Big Deal with Revenue Increases question;and people think the infighting will just get worse.

Conservatives like Erickson see their big chance to really change the structure and priorities of the Government budget slipping away. And they may get fairly desperate.

Does it really matter? Is there a real chance they could get enough votes to stop a debt ceiling deal? I think it is possible. Not likely. But possible.

And if they do succeed in blocking legislation (I give this about a one in five chance), just imagine how mad they will be when Obama employs the 14th Amendment Defense.

As a Democrat, who is absolutely convinced Obama will not let us default (most likely by ordering Geithner to ignore the debt ceiling and issue bonds as required, which is the 14th Amendment Defense), part of me wants this to happen. I want the country to understand just how dangerous a significant portion of the Republican party has become. They are simply unfit to govern. And all of us must come to see this. Then, perhaps, the Grand Old Party can reclaim its true big tent, moderate and conservative roots. 

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