Republicans Must Show They Will Shoot the Hostage

Does the party of freedom have less courage than the party of socialism? Jim DeMint thinks if the GOP fails to be bold in the debt ceiling fight that’ll be why.


As the sun rises this morning, be prepared to be completely and totally disappointed in the total lack of leadership by House Republicans when it comes to taking a bold stand in the debt ceiling fight.

Just how badly are supposedly “tea party friendly” House Republicans abandoning conservatives? Olympia Snowe of Maine has gotten to the right of them. They should all break out the leather braids and self-flagellate. Shame on them.

It’s true. This morning in the Wall Street Journal, Jim DeMint and Olympia Snowe are tag teaming an op-ed endorsing the Cut, Cap, and Balance Pledge. They are calling on Republicans to block all deals that raise taxes . . . . or . . . um . . . “fees” as they like to call them, and instead turn their attention to three things:

  1. Cut spending significantly.
  2. Enact an enforceable cap on future spending.
  3. Pass the Lee-Cornyn-Hatch Balanced Budget Amendment.

Ridiculously, conservatives in the House are dragging their feet.

Look, it is an admirable position to take that conservatives will not vote to raise the debt ceiling. But it is also a position that will ultimately be untenable. Already, some House Republicans are whispering about a deal with the Democrats. If conservatives draw a line in the sand and say no increase ever, they are going to be betrayed by their own side.

If, however, they seize public opinion and insist on Cut, Cap, and Balance, they’ll have the support of the American people and it will put their own leadership in the awkward position of being in opposition to a large portion of the base and electorate. Conservatives must have a strategy and Cut, Cap, and Balance is the right one. It is the right line in the sand.


Some, however, are arguing that a Balanced Budget Amendment will never pass, so why bother? Some of these are the same people arguing that they should not vote to raise the debt ceiling. These are people at odds with reality.

In reality, Republicans won’t get a two-thirds vote in either House when they first bring the Balanced Budget Amendment to the floor. But then, if they hold the freaking line and show their willingness to block a debt ceiling vote, i.e. shoot the hostage, they will get the votes.

DeMint is encouraged, but ultimately he worries the GOP won’t have the guts to stare Democrats down. And if it doesn’t, it’ll be a shame, he says, because “the party of freedom has less courage than the party of socialism.”

Republicans must be willing to play brinksmanship to the breaking point. If they do, they will have their way and get a Balanced Budget Amendment. But right now it doesn’t look good when Olympia Snowe is to the right of most House Republicans.


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