By Jerad McHenry
Yesterday in a private meeting John Boehner used a movie clip to light a fire in his conference to (insert your candid observations here). I guess to pass the Boehner Plan.
The movie of choice: The Town. In the movie, Ben Affleck tells his friend “I need your help. I can’t tell you what it is. You can never ask me about it later and we’re gonna hurt some people.”
Affleck’s friend responds “whose car are we going to take?”
(See the video clip here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JFtZxJGsPGc)
After the screening, Rep Allen West (R-FL) reportedly stood up and said “I’m ready to drive the car.”
DNC Chairwoman and Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz responded to this display by saying “I’m sure Republicans will think we’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” “It tells you all you need to know. … Their uncompromising position would hurt the American people.”
In my summer internship with CNS News, I actually sat on a conference call with Chairwoman Schultz. And if I could have asked her anything it would be this: You responded strongly to the House Republican Conference showing a clip of The Town during a closed door meeting to psych up legislators saying that “I’m sure Republicans will think we’re making a mountain out of a molehill,” “It tells you all you need to know. … Their uncompromising position would hurt the American people.” But haven’t President Obama and Democrats in both houses been uncompromising as the Senate prepares to reject the Boehner plan (as they also rejected the House budget proposed by Paul Ryan and Cut, Cap, and Balance), and they have failed to deal with the impending debt crisis during the two and a half years President Obama has been in office.
Ms. Schultz obviously forgot the molehills of her political past. But more importantly, she forgets that the Boehner Plan is the third plan to be proposed by the House since the inauguration of the 112th Congress.
What is even more remarkable though is what a co-worker of mine pronounced so eloquently at the lunch table yesterday afternoon. The Republican leaders do not know how to negotiate. They are in fact playing into the hands of Harry Reid and Barack Obama. The Senate and President have yet to pass a plan. In fact, no debt plan received serious consideration in the Senate until Harry Reid released his budget plan this past week. What has the GOP done? Proposed three separate plans, the latest all but capitulating to the Democratic Party. If negotiation is about coming to a middle ground, it is easy to see how the Senate feels less than compelled to do so. There is no pressure. When the Ryan Plan failed, the House devised Cut, Cap, and Balance. When the Cut, Cap, and Balance, didn’t pass the Senate, it was the carnation of the Boehner Plan. The Boehner Plan, even after revision to meet Boehner’s campaign promises, is dwarfed in real cuts by the Harry Reid Plan. The Senate has the House cowering. They are prepared to give lip service to the cause of smaller government while getting the Republican House to tie its own noose. The Senate hasn’t had to put any skin in the game, so the media cannot burn them.
The Prisoner’s Dilemma would suggest that if both parties do nothing in the debt battle, the country will go off the cliff, a lose-lose situation. Of course, in an era of divided government neither the House nor Senate will get all that it wants, thus, they must compromise to achieve the most mutually beneficial political outcome and enact some necessary reforms.
But, the House doesn’t seem to understand that it is the Senate’s turn to propose a plan, so the two houses can enter a legislative conference. Nope. Boehner has managed not only to look less committed to deficit reduction than the party that has in 2.5 years since securing the presidency out spent 43 preceding administrations, but he has also alienated conservative members of his own caucus, pissed off the party base, and if we go forward with this Obamanation (yes, I said it) of a bill, he will undoubtedly secure the political demise of his own colleagues.
Like a nuclear war, mutually assured destruction is a motivator in politics too, and with the House controlling the purse strings and endowed with a popular mandate for fiscal reform, they have the upper hand to get the Senate to break from politics as usual.
But with the Boehner Plan, the House gave away their strategic advantage. Now, the Senate can get most of what it wants, preserve the big government status quo, and watch the Republicans in the House get shellacked.
Since August 2nd is not do or die, there is no need to be selling out, but there is a need for Boehner to grow a pair or be replaced by someone who can. Someone who is willing to go balls out on reigning in spending and ending the perverted perpetual debt supported government growth as America asked them to last November needs to show themselves soon. Democrats according to conventional wisdom should have to move towards the right on the debt crisis.
House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in a Pen and Pad session said that he would have preferred to see $4 trillion in cuts. Perhaps, we could still make his day!
Originally published on the Founders Compass: http://www.thefounderscompass.com/uncategorized/boehner-cant-seem-to-stand-his-ground-capitulates-to-the-left/
Jerad McHenry is a senior at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studying political science and journalism. He is the current media intern for a Wisconsin Tea Party net start up: the Founders Compass