The sausage-making may be unsightly, but the problem is not that Washington is broken, that ridiculous ubiquitous cliché.
Financial Times called Charles Krauthammer “the most influential commentator in America.” Having a chair at the table of Fox News’ Special Report with Bret Baier certainly puts an exclamation mark to that statement though I’m sure there’s no shortage of talk radio stars like Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Glenn Beck and Laura Ingraham who might argue the point.
Nevertheless he still yields considerable weight which he’s leveraging to shill for Speaker Boehner’s debt ceiling plan. You could say he was premature in pushing the Republicans, particularly the Tea Party types, to vote yea on the Boehner plan because the 1st two drafts couldn’t muster enough votes to pass the House. Each interation gets better from Charle’s perspective. With a balanced budget amendment provision added to the package and passage assured, Krauthammer published a syndicated column pleading his case one more time.
That an establishment conservative pundit is backing the leader of the Republican establishment is hardly newsworthy except Charles is typically a real fire-breather talking of deep moral principles and expressing bitter santimony of the shallowness of everything Democratic. I’ve had a hard time watching him on Bret Baier’s panel insist President Obama’s playing politics by requiring the debt ceiling deal run past the next election yet Speaker of the House Boehner isn’t by pushing for at least one more pre-election vote to keep the Republican’s top issue front and center before the voters as they make up who they want to be the next resident of the White House.
Charles Krauthammer’s hypocrisy on this issue digs quite deeper. In his column he assues the Tea Party House members holding out for the whoe enchilada “I have every sympathy with the conservative counterrevolutionaries.” Then he spends the rest of his editorial trying to convice them to give up their principles in favor of real politics. Just be good team players, folks.
Senator Rand Paul said tonight that the Boehner plan serves no purpose. It can’t pass the Senate and the Cut, Cap and Balance Bill they sent earlier, which met the same fate, was much closer to the Tea Party’s ideal. So why is Charles cheerleading this particular link of sausage?
It might take a partial federal government shutdown to press all sides to finally face reality. However, the odds are Speaker Boehner and his buddies probably have gotten as much mileage as they can from this issue. They forced the issue of budget cuts in their favor. They got the Democrats to drop increasing revenues as part of the solution, probably the most foolish aspect of the negotiatons but more on that at the end. Forcing an 11th hour balanced budget amendment with no time to debate this momentous issue is simply irresponsible and has no chance to pass.
So “the most influential commentator in America” puts his weight behind a bill that’s dead on arrival, is a compromise of his cherished principles in all forms, and is such a bad piece of legislation it isn’t a long-term solution by design but a ploy to embarass President Obama closer to election time. Charles gets paid to publish this rubbish? Nice job if you can get it.
America’s running huge deficits. The Republican Party has seized the moment to push their tired meme of shrinking government. However, the terrifying scope and scale of our budget deficit is largely a product of our economy many call the Great Recession. In bad economic times obviously our government must spend more to help the poor and unemployed. Add to this mix the cost of our military adventures abroad. War is expensive. Add further the cost of the Bush tax cut extension. Then there were expenditures to blunt economic crisis: TARP and Obama’s stimulus plan.
Republican national debt forecasts look at current spending and project it forever. Senator Reid’s rival plan points out the obvious: the surge in Afghanistan will end. That lowers the projections but they cry “foul” because it isn’t a new cut. Which is what their argument is really about. They’re not trying to solve the current crisis. They’re just using it as a subtrafuge to fullfil their wet dream of shrinking government to some utopian 18th century mythology.
Which is why revenues should have been kept on the table as the Democrats wanted. Ending the Bush tax cuts – and this would personally affect me – would do much in cutting the deficit. Add in 2:1 or even 3:1 budget cuts and you’re talking real money that would prevent a downgrade in our debt rating (a phony issue, I believe, but I’ll leave that for another day). The wars will end. The recession will end. We can balance the budget in the good times.
Finally, there are obligations which will long-term be a giant debt bomb: Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Health care reform should have fixed the latter two. Sadly, it didn’t. However, a sober solution to these complex problems can’t be found during the current toxic debt ceiling negotiations.
Charles should have discussed all this but went for the easy paycheck feeding red meat to his conservative fanboys.