Sean Hannity practically jumped through the television camera last night in a passionate denunciation of Senator Mitch McConnell’s plan to give President Obama unilateral authority to raise the debt limit and making the cuts to support it.
“I don’t want him making that decision!” exclaimed Hannity in alarm at the thought of ceding that much power to Obama.
Within seconds the Newt Gingrich of Reagan days – the smart, pointed and happily wicked backbencher – appeared on screen. Gingrich, too, sharply opposed McConnell’s idea – and had a far better one.
“I think the House Republicans should call President Obama’s bluff,” said Gingrich.
The former Speaker and now-presidential candidate elaborated:
House Republicans ought to go in tomorrow, pass a $100 billion cut on spending and a $100 billion increase in the debt ceiling, so they’re exactly balanced that takes us all the way through to September. And they should call that the Social Security Payment Guarantee Bill.
Then they should say to the president, “Here, we’ve taken care of August. All you have to do is get Harry Reid and the Senate Democrats to pass it. You sign it. We can guarantee every senior citizen their social security check. Now, Mr. President, are you prepared to stop senior citizens from getting their check?”
Put the shoe back on his foot. Make him responsible. And you could do that once a month, for the next 18 months — and you can find a $100 billion a month to do it.
There’s more, to be found here with our friends at The Washington Examiner.
What’s important to understand here is that the behind-the-scenes drama within GOP circles is only the latest in an almost 80-year internal battle between conservatives and the GOP Establishment over the size and role of government. Right from the get-go of the New Deal and Great Society there have been Republicans who supported the idea of what Barry Goldwater once sarcastically called “the dime store New Deal.” Which is to say, they went along with FDR and LBJ and the prevailing expand-the-government winds of the day, just a little less so. If LBJ wanted to spend a hundred grand on program X, there was a clique in the GOP that said X could and should be done – but for fifty grand. The Great Society on the cheap.
The problem now — which Ronald Reagan was on to back in 1964 in his Time for Choosing speech — is that all of this massive spending would finally catch up with Americans. Said Reagan then:
But I have an uncomfortable feeling that this prosperity isn’t something on which we can base our hopes for the future. No nation in history has ever survived a tax burden that reached a third of its national income. Today, 37 cents out of every dollar earned in this country is the tax collector’s share, and yet our government continues to spend 17 million dollars a day more than the government takes in. We haven’t balanced our budget 28 out of the last 34 years. We’ve raised our debt limit three times in the last twelve months, and now our national debt is one and a half times bigger than all the combined debts of all the nations of the world.
Mind you — this was 47 years ago!
So here we are.
Reagan himself helped to turn the tide against the Establishment GOP mindset. “A political party is not a fraternal order. A party is something where people are bound together by a shared philosophy.”
And that shared philosophy is winning the day in talk radio, on Fox News, the Tea Party and from various bully pulpits inside the House and Senate GOP as well as on the presidential campaign trail.
But the notion by some Republicans — even if unintentional — of accommodating Leviathan, of playing the role of the “dime store New Dealer” still exerts a powerful pull for a few.
Senator McConnell is a good and decent man. But this is decidedly not the way to go.
The fact of the matter is that after almost 80 years of kicking the can down the road, America’s liberals, to borrow from Margaret Thatcher, have finally run out of somebody else’s money. This is, precisely as Gingrich said to Hannity last night, a power struggle. A fundamental and historical power struggle between the 80 percent who want a citizen centered government and the 20 percent who want a Washington-centered government. And like crack-addicts threatened with the loss of their drug of choice – the desperation among liberals for more, more, MORE! — has set in.
No Republican in their right mind should help these people feed their habit.
Gingrich has it right: a $100 billion cut for a $100 billion debt ceiling rise. Month by month. Social Security gets paid — Grandma gets her check. No tax increases. Period, nada, done.
The chickens have come home to roost.
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