The Uselessness of a Republican House


The way the House rolled over and passed the Democratic/Liberal fiscal cliff “deal” was not the only disgusting sight in Washington, D.C. this New Year’s Day. Even worse was the craven way the Republican Congressmen embraced Democratic tactics by voting against the bill only when they were certain that it would pass despite their votes. Just like so-called “moderate” Democrats in the Senate, they waited to see if their votes were needed. Assured that they were not, they loudly and vocally criticized a bill they knew would pass and took turns posturing for the media.

Thus, Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Whip Kevin McCarthy staked out cheap ground to the right of Speaker John Boehner by voting no. The speaker, meanwhile — with more sincerity — ratified his defeat at the bargaining table by voting for a “compromise” that was, in reality, a total surrender. If this was a compromise, so was the ceremony on the deck of the USS Missouri ending World War II!

The “good” news is that this “victory” gives Obama more than enough rope with which to destroy himself. Its tax increases and mammoth additions to the deficit and debt will likely lead to recession and even higher unemployment. Obama is about to learn the validity of the wisdom he received — and ignored — from Bill Clinton that “I don’t think it’s a good idea to raise taxes on anybody during a recession.”

But let’s not permit those who voted against the deal to parade their ballots as evidence of their dedication to principle.

Rather, look at the real moment of political principle and courage that arose before the vote to approve this awful deal. Before Speaker Boehner brought the bill up for a vote, he offered the Republican majority another alternative to surrender to Obama’s plan. He said that if the members would support him, he was willing to say no and to pass, instead, a bill with the tax increases but with real spending cuts added in.

Some members were willing to take him up on the offer. Others were reluctant to join in, fearful of voting for tax increases in any form. How convenient to be able to say no all the time. Once the tax increases were inevitable, the time had arrived to fight to add in spending cuts to the Senate passed bill. But too many Republicans were AWOL for the battle on spending to wage it with any prospect of winning. Instead Boehner caved and passed the Obama bill, relying largely on Democratic support to get it through.

It was not a great day to celebrate being a Republican.

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