Boehner folds on debt ceiling, Republicans continue to do nothing

Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at the Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. / Gage Skidmore
Retiring Speaker of the House John Boehner speaking at a recent Values Voter Summit in Washington, DC. / Gage Skidmore

WASHINGTON, February 14, 2014 — House Speaker John Boehner’s performance this week suggests a new Republican strategy based on an old Irish saying: “Is fear rith maith ná drochsheasamh.”

“A good run is better than a bad stand.”

This week’s vote to raise the debt ceiling under the leadership of Speaker “I won’t bring a vote to the floor unless it has a Republican majority” Boehner trumpeted the new battle cry of the GOP. Twenty eight house Republicans voted to raise the debt ceiling, cementing the idea that Boehner and his establishment allies are dead set on retreating from confronting President Obama on the issue. They favor retreating to more favorable ground on the Affordable Healthcare Act battlefield.

There are number of problems with that strategy.

The GOP has the upper hand on Obamacare. They were right about almost everything. Millions lost coverage, millions had their deductibles go up, and there were countless reports of individuals losing their longtime doctors. The Republicans were right, the President lied. Republicans are going for the throat on this issue; they will be pushing hard in every national election to bring this issue to light and assure that the public knows how bad Obamacare is.

But at what cost?

In an effort to keep the focus on the failures surrounding Obamacare, the Republicans have repeatedly failed to offer battle to the Democrats on any other issue facing the country. On immigration, the Republicans just said, we’ll pass. On the debt ceiling, the Republicans caved in. On spending cuts, the Republicans have gone along with the Democrats. And they have made all of these concessions in order to avoid a bad stand.

They are afraid. Of what? They are afraid of losing the ground they have gained with the country over the disastrous events surrounding Obamacare. The website cost over half a billion dollars more than it was originally supposed to. People have lost their doctors and plans. And recently a report was released that estimates the number of job hours lost as a result of people using Obamacare subsidies to equal the elimination of almost two and a half million jobs.

There is a lot to work with there. But there is a lot more to work with elsewhere.

In the middle of all the Obamacare nonsense, the progressives revealed themselves to be nothing more than elitist Obama apologists. When people were kicked off their plans, they shrugged it off and said, “you didn’t need that plan anyway.” When people lost their doctors, they threw up their hands and said “well he probably wasn’t a very good doctor.” And when it was revealed that people don’t need to have a job to get health insurance, they cheered and said “people are now free to leave jobs they probably didn’t want in the first place.”

It is time to carry this fight elsewhere. The fight needs to be made over immigration. The fight needs to be made over spending. The fight needs to be made over unfunded liabilities, and the fight needs to be made over entitlements. The Democrats do not even believe we have a spending problem. To them, $17 trillion in debt is no big deal, and running a near trillion-dollar deficit in the budget is just another day at the office.

The Republicans need to call out the Democrats on useless and needless spending, and they need to take the fight to them over their war on success, their war on individual rights, and on education.

Common Core is a disaster; just look at the sites for yourself, look at the worksheets and try not to scratch your head. Take a look at the Democrat attack on the wealthy. They keep shouting “pay your fair share” despite the fact that the top 1 percent pay 50 percent of income taxes. They keep shouting that the Republicans are the party of the rich, when there are more Democrat millionaires and billionaires in Congress than Republicans. There are so many other things they can bring the Democrats to the mat with, but they either lack the stomach or they lack the insight.

At this point, opposition to Obamacare is a turn-key operation. According to Gallup, three separate polls since November find Americans view the law unfavorably. In one poll, 56 percent of Americans do not believe that Healthcare is the responsibility of the government. Every month polls and surveys are released saying that Americans are unhappy with the law. Republicans simply need to keep a watchful eye on these trends, instead of staring them in the face from two inches away.

The Democrats are gaining ground on every front, taking advantage of the Republican strategy of keeping Obamacare the central issue of the day. This may initially have worried Democrats, who looked at Republican focus on the ACA with confusion and apprehension, but now it now works to their advantage. They will continue to push issues which they know the Republicans will sidestep in order to keep national focus on Obamacare.

The Democrats are not idle in their defense of the healthcare law, and while some legislators up for reelection may be distancing themselves from it, the Left has circled the wagons. Every criticism of this law is met with a Frenchman’s wave and indignation: “You didn’t need it anyway,” they say as they wear their berets and smoke cigarettes on their long stemmed holders in their striped shirts. You know the image.

The Republicans need to fight, they need to address the country on the spending issues. They are letting their opponent define their argument, they are letting their opposition spin the story. They need to go on the offensive. When I was wrestling, one of my old coaches told me that on the mat the man who strikes first wins the most. Aggression is the key to victory. So Republicans need to be aggressive.

On spending, they can’t let the Left define what is being cut and what is spared. Cutting a bloated, cancerous government budget is not easy, and things will have to be sacrificed. We have been mismanaged people, the country spends far, far more than it takes in. So the Republicans need to take the fight to the Democrats over spending on things like Alaskan fisheries, failed solar energy projects and companies, test studies on irrelevant things like whether or not rattle snakes prefer perfumed rodents to non-perfumed, and programs and agencies which are redundant and or useless.

There are billions of dollars out there to be cut that do not involve Tiny Tim and his crutch, or shutting down old soldiers homes, or cutting retirement benefits. The Republicans say, we need to cut spending, and then they make the mistake of the Democrats saying, well the only place we can cut spending is the smiles of children, do you want children to smile less? Of course not! But there are countless other places that can be trimmed or cut out entirely.

Republicans don’t want a national fight over these issues. They are afraid that by confronting the Democrats on immigration, or spending, or anything else that they will lose what they have gained with the ACA. They believe they cannot win a national media campaign slamming them for trying to cut funding to a government agency that has long since outlived its use. They believe that going to the floor of the Senate or the House in protest over useless government spending will do nothing but feed the fire that fuels the Democrats.

It does not have to be that way. Fight, but fight smart. Talk to the American people, go on the air and explain to them just what is happening. Stop letting the Liberal media and the Democratic party define you to the rest of the country. Get up and fight.

So stop leaning on the failure of the ACA and grow a backbone, Republicans. It profits man nothing to win the World and lose his soul, as some version of that saying goes. And these seemingly small concessions against Conservative thought and philosophy will cost the Republican party their soul. They may win the next two election cycles, but they will have inherited a mess that may be impossible to clean up, and a mess that they helped create.

A good run may be better than a bad stand, but sometimes a bad stand is the only way.

Follow me on Twitter @bckprchpolitics

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  • Tanya Grimsley


  • George Smith

    Exactly correct the Republicans have given the Democrats the ball in every play they have to take possession of the argument and push it down the field.

  • amyje1

    I agree with this analysis. For years conservatives have been ready to pull their hair out in frustration over the GOPs spinelessness and constant defeatism. And now we have many GOP politicians who have foolishly distanced themselves and attacked their own base. (There are, of course, a few exceptions.) It really gives them the deserved label of being “the party of stupid.”

  • hulabird

    Boehner, you need to be recalled at least as speaker. You are clearly working for the other side and have betrayed our trust. No confidence vote from me.

  • jeanne40

    Do something to stop the NUT. I can’t help think we are going down the tubes with this BOZO in charge. Send him packing.