John Boehner is a funny guy. He and other members of his party put together a budget proposal and sent it to the president a little bit ago. This was in response to the proposal made by the president last week. In it, Mr. Boehner and his party advocated sweeping cuts to medicare and medicaid and a reduction in cost of living increases for social security recipients. He pointed out that the plan would close loop holes and shut down deductions and that everything would be peachy keen and no one would ever have to pay more in taxes. That would include the GOP keepers in the top two percent income bracket. Of course he didn't say which loopholes and deductions would be closed, but I'm sure he considers himself more of a big picture sort of person.
The reason this should provoke a grim smile from many people is that it is the exact plan that was pushed by Mitt Romney when he was campaigning for the presidency. You know, the one a majority of voters rejected along with Mitt on November 6th. Yes, it would seem Mr. Boehner and his boys have it in their heads that somehow they run the show and the public, which resoundingly rejected their fiscal ideology simply doesn't count. Well you have to keep your owners happy one way or the other don't you.
The president reacted this way when asked about raising tax rates on the top two percent of earners, "we're not going to be able to get a deal without it." In other words there is no compromise available to Boehner and the republicans that will allow the richest among us to not pay more. Back in the 60's we called this a "non negotiable demand."
Of course many will and have pointed out that last weeks opening offer by the president and this weeks counter offer by Boehner and Co. are merely bargaining ploys. That everyone in their right mind knows that the answer is somewhere in the middle and now that both parties have played to their bases they can begin moving in that direction.
Of course not everyone on the GOP side is actually in their right mind. That is why today NBC NEWS is reporting that the republican leadership purged four of its members from committee seats. David Schweikert of Arizona and Walter Jones of North Carolina were removed from the Financial Services Committee. Tim Huelskamp of Kansas and Austin Amash of Michigan were booted off the House Budget Committee. Jones, Huelskamp and Amash all voted against the republican budget bill saying it didn't go far enough when it came to reducing the deficit.
NBC quoted an unnamed republican staffer as saying, "These guys are clearly not team players. This isn't about ideology; this is about how you treat the people on your team." Well maybe it isn't about ideology, but five will get you ten that right before those clowns were shown the door someone said to them something along the lines of, "you stupid sonsofbitches got Obama re-elected and we're not kowtowing to you any more."
Indeed, if a deal is to be struck, if a great compromise must be made, you can't have ideologues from your own party gumming up the works in critical committees. In a strange fashion we might have just seen the first step taken in marginalizing the tea party hacks. The republican leadership is obviously tired of their bull shit and isn't going to put up with it any more. The message here is that principles are one thing, but governing is another beast entirely and you'd better figure out the difference in a hurry.
So right now the term de jour is "fiscal cliff." It would seem the nation is careening toward it at breakneck speed. Everyone wants to avoid it, because if a compromise isn't reached all parties, coast to coast, rich and poor, sick and retired will get fucked. No one, either on the hill or in the white house, wants to see that happen, because if it does Americans are going to blame the entire District of Columbia for it. Barak Obama says he is willing to make cuts in entitlements to ease the pain of people like Sheldon Adelson and John Schnatter. However it has become perfectly clear he isn't going to let them off the hook. They are going to pay more--no ifs, ands, or buts. John Boehner and his pals better figure that out pretty quickly, other wise they need to learn how to fly.
Yes, live together ladies and gentlemen or in two years many of you will looking for jobs in the ever shrinking private sector. This president has nothing to lose. He can spend every penny of his political capital right now. After all, he can't take it with him. None of us ever can.
Over and out.