It is getting more and more frustrating to watch the slow implosion of the Republican Party as they stubbornly resist the fiscal conservatism needed to offset the recklessness of the Democratic Party.
Yesterday, President Obama sat down with top Congressional leaders to begin the process of working out a deal to avoid the fiscal cliff that threatens America. While Obama has not been shy about conveying to the press his willingness to do what it takes to avoid the looming crisis, his track record and the pressure he is receiving from the left has me less than convinced that he will reach across the aisle in any meaningful way. And why should he? He knows the establishment GOP leaders are weak-willed and will bend as they have been doing for the last twenty years.
Right on cue is the beginning of the cracking of the unified front needed to actually stand up for fiscal sanity:
West Virginia Republican Representative Shelley Moore Capito recently hinted at a softening of the GOP stance by saying,
“What I think you will see is a retention of the tax rates as they are for a year, with the promise that we will get into looking at all revenues – and that could include tax rates.”
Meanwhile, as Capito gets her white flag ready, Democrats in the Senate are circulating a letter demanding that Obama stand firm on the issue of tax hikes for the wealthy and are demanding a 1:1 ratio of entitlement cuts to tax hikes. That means that they demand a deal that outlines that for every $1 in spending cuts, $1 must be raised in revenue. As a general guide, lawmakers are looking for around $4 trillion in deficit reduction. If the Democrats’ demands are met, that’s around $2 trillion in tax hikes.
Compromise can be a good thing, but quickly signaling a willingness to abandon your party’s initial position before the opening of negotiations is bound to only invite further demands from the tax-and-spend lunatics that got us into this mess in the first place.
Bill Kristol, political analyst and editor of The Weekly Standard, has also been advocating the GOP throw in the towel before the fight even begins. On FOX News Sunday, the cowardly Kristol said,
“Elections have consequences… The leadership in the Republican Party and the leadership in the conservative movement has to pull back, let people float new ideas. Let’s have a serious debate. Don’t scream and yell when one person says, ‘You know what? It won’t kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.’ It really won’t, I don’t think. I don’t really understand why Republicans don’t take Obama’s offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000. Make it $500,000–make it a million. Really? The Republican Party’s going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires? Half of whom vote Democratic, and half of whom live in Hollywood, and are hostile to Republican principles?”
That’s the problem right there. To succinctly summarize the issue as being a battle to “defend a bunch of millionaires” is to misrepresent the long-term advantages of keeping more money in the bank accounts of people who will reinvest it into business growth and the hiring of more middle class workers. More than simply a move to help the wealthy keep their money, the maintaining of tax cuts for those in a position to create jobs is key to helping create a more sustainable middle class and creating a more business-friendly environment in an America that is getting a reputation for being hostile to entrepreneurialism and business expansion.
The Republican Party needs to wake up and realize that while they do need to change their messaging, they should run from the center as fast as they can. Economic liberalism got us into this mess and we need to recognize that fact and act accordingly. We already have a leftist party, we don’t need a slightly-less leftist party to posture as the only bastion of remotely conservative ideas. We need legitimate conservatism.