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    Last night’s mistake

    Last night’s mistake

    The failure last night to pass the so-called Boehner bill was a mistake.  I hope it will be corrected today.

    I don’t disparage the intentions of the 25 or so who were not willing to vote for the bill.  In fact, I agree with them as to where we should end up.  I disagree with them as to how to get there.

    My disagreement is that they are treating this vote as the end of the line, the last chance to save this sinking ship.

    That’s not my perspective.  This is an opportunity to change direction of the ship, and spend the next year fighting for the types of deeper changes which will save the ship.

    The Boehner bill establishes the principles of no new taxes, dollar-for-dollar offsets of debt and budget cuts, capping the growth of government, and the necessity of further cuts.  The Boehner bill also establishes this agenda as the agenda for the presidential election by making sure that more hard decisions are made during the electoral season.

    There is uncertainty as to what no debt ceiling raise means.  Frankly, I don’t know whether it will be no big deal or catastrophe.  But I am confident that regardless, it plays into Obama’s hands.

    The lack of job growth, the failure of a recovery to materialize, any further economic damage, and so on, will be placed on our doorstep, however unfairly.  The narrative for the presidential election will be changed dramatically, and not in a way that helps us rid ourselves of a president who is deeply committed to the expansion of government by regulation if not legislation.

    Passing the Boehner bill out of the House, to near certain rejection by the Senate and Obama, puts the onus for any negative consequences where it belongs, on the Democrats.  But only if Republicans pass it out of the House.

    Update:  I should also add that some of the monied Tea Party organizations, which only to a limited extent represent the “movement,” have lost their way when they announce that they will target Allen West over his decision to vote for the Boehner bill.  Allen West?

    And, here is West’s response (h/t @allahpundit):


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    to continue your sinking ship metaphor: now is the time to make basic repairs and to get the ship underway again, so that the big job can be finished in port.

    Job #1 is to get the ship to port, and the nearest port is November 2012. Insisting on massive repairs now will sink us before we get there.

      Nemo's omen in reply to EnerGeoPolitics. | July 29, 2011 at 3:51 pm

      Until Boehner revised the bill today, those “basic repairs” were only a lot of bandaids that won’t stick under water for very long– which would’ve worked had the bill temporarily raised the debt ceiling with actual, immediate offsetting spending cuts.

      At least now, even tho’ the House bill in this form won’t be approved by Reid’s Senate, the GOP has a principle to campaign on and a better chance at getting elected next year in order to implement more major repairs… IF it has sufficient Tea Party tar to swab all the holes in our hull as we reinforce it with sturdier planking, else the establishment GOP will allow us to continue listing only a little less from imbalanced budgets and pouring-in debt than the Democrats have.

    Prof. Jacobson,

    What do you think about Andy McCarthy’s take:

    “The pass we are at is not an avoidable disruption. It is a disaster that has already begun to unfold, reversal of which cries out for bold action. The Boehner plan, or any other scheme that balks at forthrightly dealing with our financial straits, merely makes it more likely that our nation cannot survive as we have known it. In the shorter term, the Boehner plan ensures that, when serious steps are finally taken, the metastasizing debt disease will be trillions worse, if not terminal.

    “Equally wrongheaded as imagining that an existential threat can be allowed to fester untreated is the insistence on seeing the threat in political rather than substantive terms.”

    Can a country (or family) that borrows 40 cents of every dollar it spends become solvent without action that inevitably require a massive and “catastrophic” change in lifestyle? When one is that deeply in debt, can there be an effective “moderate” approach?

      William A. Jacobson in reply to T D. | July 29, 2011 at 5:09 pm

      If this is the end of the battle then he is right, but it’s not. Also, are we really going to cut 40% of the federal budget overnight? If that’s what it takes then there is no hope. McCarthy also writes this:

      Does that mean the debt ceiling shouldn’t be raised at all? I think so. I am open, though, to arguments that the Titanic can’t be turned around on a dime, that some schedule of modest monthly tweaks — upward and downward — may be justified while we roll up our sleeves and do the hard work of dramatically scaling back. One would have to be convinced that the hard work is actually underway, but I could see the sense in such a plan.

        Nemo's omen in reply to William A. Jacobson. | July 29, 2011 at 5:33 pm

        I should know from personal experience ;), but a big McCarthy metaphor alert. One would need to roll up pant legs and not sleeves (at least not at first) on a sinking oversized and badly steered Titanic, although what good either would do…?

        Nemo's omen in reply to William A. Jacobson. | July 29, 2011 at 5:56 pm

        No one is seriously talking cutting the budget 40% instantly. But, the campaign battle ahead to influence voters ahead and change our entitlement thinking requires precepts and bold proof of intent, lest Republicans sound like opportunizing and ineffectual blowhards. Were squishy and expedient Republican compromise bills to be offered to political shark and spendthrift Dems at this critical time, even or especially with the justification that the GOP was buying time– taking baby steps, whatever, until the next election– a likely response from party partisans both sides would be a Why would anyone vote for the GOP? After Republicans gambled on compromising and incrementalizing when they could’ve taken a bold stand against Democratic intransigence, they got pwned by rhetorically more insistent and consistent Dems (media in the pocket helps.)

        As usual, establishment Republicans think they’re acting adult when they concede and concede; the Dems know they can dig in their heels and wait for concession to come to them, all the while spinning the Repubs as obstacles to better governance.

        Nemo's omen in reply to William A. Jacobson. | July 29, 2011 at 5:59 pm

        Please strike at least one of the “ahead”s second sentence above, b/c w/o Perview i ain’t got a head.

        Thank you, Professor, for taking the time to reply. Like the TARP bill this is a tough one with people I respect on both sides of the issue.

    @ BD1957

    “Did we send the fleet toward Japan on December 8, 1941?”

    No, we waited four months and sent Doolittle’s raiders.

    Some may have considered Doolittle’s Raid “going over the cliff with flags flying,” but it was exactly what this nation needed at the time. We didn’t compromise. We didn’t seek to avoid a “train wreck” of a world war. We signalled the Japanese that they had a real fight on their hands. By approving Doolittle’s Raid Roosevelt gave hope and encouragement to a demoralized nation.

    If there is any hope of turning this country around, the Tea Party is key. The last thing the Republicans need to do is demoralize the people in the trenches. Bold strokes (even if futile ones) are a whole lot more effective moral-builders than timid half measures proposed by collaborators.

    Nemo's omen | July 29, 2011 at 6:47 pm

    If no one else will say it, I will.

    Politics is about classic power exchange. Right now the GOP debt reduction vision is, upon Boehner bill/Tea Party amendments, posed to be on top, whether Reid likes it or not.

    If House Republicans fold to Reid’s Senatorial purview/worldview, then they/ all of them are into serious kink.

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