Stand Or Flinch On The Boehner Bill In The Debt-Ceiling Debate?
I read the threads from last night and this morning about whether as Allen West has, conservatives should accept the Boehner plan and abandon the tea party insistence that there should be NO debt increase without spending cuts that are immediate and greater than the amount of the increase, AND there should be the issuance to the states of a Balanced Budget Amendment to The Constitution. Conservatives, some say, should take what they have already gained, no tax increase and spending cuts above the debt-ceiling increase and move on: leave the rest to the responsibility of The Senate and the President. Understand: most ALL Republicans agree on the objectives, only disagreeing on how best to achieve them.
Ironically, we have a nice picture of the entire situation in a disagreement between two longtime friends and allies, both greatly and only partially justifiably derided by conservatives. John McCain takes the position of other 60 year-old + political veterans like Charles Krauthammer and George Will, who have lived a lifetime being hammered and most often beaten by Democrats and media: take what you can get and scurry to evade the blame. Some say we may lose the vote and get a worse result, but that it will be easier to lay the blame on Democrats for what ensues.
But, I take the dissenting position of McCain's usual ally Lindsey Graham, who is usually equally derided by conservatives. But Graham is on the conservative tea party side. Why? Could it possibly be that the reflexive flinch and pucker of veteran Republicans is so severe as to overlook the manifest sentiment of the public? Even setting aside the historic Republican victory of 2010, polls show STRONG public support for both spending restraint AND a Balanced Budget Amendment. Graham says that he isn't sure we will, but if we are going to lose, let us lose by supporting and having Democrats reject EXACTLY what the public supports.
The only place where polls show any public support for the Democrat side is on tax increases for "the wealthy" and corporations, which are already off the table, besides being a terribly misguided idea. And today, it looks like that's what will happen. Because tea party Republicans held out, a balanced budget provision will be added to the Boehner bill to gain the support needed.
This should also pick up 4 or 5 Republican Senators who would NOT have supported the Boehner plan previously. Now, the pressure will be on Democrats up for re-election like Clare McCaskill (MO), Ben Nelson, (NE) Bill Nelson (FL), Joe Manchin (WV) and Jon Tester (MT). As Graham points out, Republicans could actually win the vote or force a filibuster which could be broken, OR set these Senators up for a defeat next year, added to likely pickups of retiring Democrats' seats in ND and VA and possibly NM. Republicans could wind up with not just a bare but a strong Senate majority. And if The Senate passes the bill, the heat of the spotlight goes to Obama to avoid the calamity he has been bellowing about for weeks.