The Implosion Approaches

The impending federal government shut-down—which could happen at the end of this week or be delayed two weeks—demonstrates the fissures inside a very shaky Republican-Tea Party coalition.

This is an alliance that will not last long.

While Speaker John Boehner has so far bowed to his Tea Party freshmen, his instincts are not with them. He’d prefer to cut a spending deal with Harry Reid and President Obama; the Tea Party people do not want to hear of “deals.” They are not of a mind to compromise with “career politicians.”

So, what we have here is an inevitable—predicted here for the last seven months – train wreck that threatens the GOP majority and opens a door for Obama to get re-elected.

All the inside-the-beltway self-congratulation over Boehner’s move to take $4 Billion of cuts from Obama’s budget next year and moving that into this year and believing that will satisfy the Tea Party people is way, way off base.

All indication from Tea Party people around the country is that they are—if this is possible—even angrier about DC’s spending habits than they were a year ago, when they defeated establishment Republicans all across the country in GOP senatorial and gubernatorial primaries.

With the 2012 GOP presidential race beginning with Newt’s imminent announcement, we will soon see the Tea Party voters force the GOP even more to the Right. We will see these GOP presidential candidates racing to get ahead of each other in criticizing not just Obama, but the GOP establishment in Congress. If Boehner and McConnell try to do a deal with Obama and Harry Reid, it will be scorned and attacked by these presidential candidates.

Thus we will see the Republican Party attacking itself!

The future 2012 presidential nominee will probably have been the man who was most critical of his party’s congressional leadership—the very people he would have to work with if he won the White House in November of 2012.

This is what we are headed for.

The past spending practices of the Republicans—especially from 2001–2007 under G.W. Bush—are what has given rise inside the GOP of the Tea Party anger at the Richard Lugars and Orrin Hatches and Olympia Snowes, all of whom will face severe Tea Party primaries in 2012.

Believe this: the national Republican Party as we have come to know it is about to be blasted into oblivion by Tea Party grass-roots rage against the Establishment’s way of doing things in DC.

What will be left of the Republican Party is yet to be determined. But one year from today—in the midst of the presidential primaries—the GOP will look substantially different than it does today.

Also, do not be surprised if the GOP presidential candidate comes from out-of-the blue and is filled with the same anti-establishment rage that has fueled the rise of the Tea Party Movement. He will not be some DC establishment guy—like a Newt Gingric—masquerading as a true Tea Partier.

No, the next Republican president will have to be a true Tea Party revolutionary.

The Conservative Dream Realized

We are witnessing today—for the first time in American history—a roll-back of government at the state level and, perhaps even at the federal level, as well.

This concept—limited and smaller government—has been the basic precept of American conservatism for decades. But it has never been enacted—even under conservatives. Ronald Reagan, our greatest conservative politician, as governor in California and as president did not shrink government; he only decreased the rate of increase.

Other so-called “conservatives,” like the two President George Bushes, grew government, increased the deficits and national debt, and made a mockery of the once-clear distinction between Republicans and Democrats.

But the 2008 subprime mortgage meltdown and subsequent recession/depression have now rippled all the way through our economy. First it was the still-ongoing housing crash followed by massive private sector lay-offs. That has lead to a precipitous drop in government tax revenues and an equal increase in new government pay-outs for unemployment benefits.

The result of this is near or virtual bankruptcy in many states—New York, New Jersey, California, Illinois and the other upper mid-west states. But because of state constitutional mandates requiring an annual balanced budget, governors from both political parties are faced with the same problem: how to either cut government costs or raise revenues. Only Illinois has implemented a massive personal income tax increase; all the other states are instead trying to cut costs, realizing that tax increases during a recession will drive businesses out of their states.

And that leads us to Wisconsin. There the Republican governor and state legislature has identified the long-term culprit as spiraling public labor costs, including not just salaries but especially health care contributions and retirement, as the area that must be brought back into balance with private sector workers.

The questions are simple: why should public employees not pay more for their share of health costs and retirement? If private sector workers have to pay their fare share, shouldn’t government workers, too?

This is not an assault on labor—although Big Labor and the Obama White House are trying to make it such. No, this is the pendulum swinging back to the economic and political center. Government workers are not being fired or laid off; that is the last option governors are taking. Instead, the idea is to reduce costs and try to save these jobs.

But there has developed a new—and arrogant—mentality in our nation over the past fifty years: government workers—town, county, state and federal—have grown to expect special privileges and extra benefits as part of the job. Thus, in many ways, these jobs are cushier and more secure than their private sector counter-parts. These jobs have become a special, protected, superior class of workers.

This is a far cry from fifty or more years ago when a “government job” was a lesser job than a private sector job. There used to be a stigma—“you are second rate if you have to work for the government”—attached to these jobs. But, in the 1960’s, that began to change. Public workers grew in number as government grew under LBJ’s Great Society. Unionization then soon came for these people. Public teachers, especially, became the single most active on-the-ground field workers for the Democratic Party. In fact, at every Democratic National Convention, public teachers are the largest group of delegates, thus demonstrating their crucial role in the Democrat Party.

When Democrats won state houses, they rewarded their friends by giving them the very benefits that are now about to be taken away in Wisconsin and soon other states, as well.

Plain and simply put: we are broke. We have to cut some benefits from everyone. No one is excluded—not even government workers—and that will soon include seniors once entitlements come under reform. (And they will.)

One more related thought: it has taken about 30 years to go from a National Debt of under $1 Trillion (1981) to over $14.2 Trillion today. OK, that is 30 years—under presidents of both parties.

This problem cannot be solved overnight, or in one year or five.

Why not this plan: Congress adopts a 30-year pay-off-the-National-Debt Plan—just like any of us would agree with a lender to pay off a debt over time. We steadily pay down the National Debt, year after year, through cuts in spending and entitlement reforms, until we are debt-free. $500 billion per year—no matter what. That times 30 years and the National Debt is gone—and so, too, is the $1 Trillon per year interest payment we are paying each year before we pay a soldier or issue a Social Security check.

The markets would rejoice over this plan. The dollar would strengthen. America would be seen as finally addressing its most serious long-term problem.

The United States of America always faces up to its problems. And solves them. Maybe not as quickly as we’d like, but the system drives us to fixing the mistakes we have made. The rise of the Tea Party movement—based on citizen outrage like that seen at the Boston Tea Party—is driven by the realization that our debt will soon bankrupt us.

That spirit is what is at stake today in Wisconsin and Albany and even in the House of Representatives in DC.

When all is said and done, the long-held conservative dream of a smaller, less-intrusive government will be realized.

Vacuum on the Right

The just-completed C-PAC annual meeting has–gain–shown us that we on the Right do not have a front-runner or even a plausible candidate to unite us as we head into the crucial 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

In fact, C-PAC demonstrated that the organized Right, which sold its soul to a faux conservative in 2000, G.W. Bush, and then supported him and an irresponsible GOP-run Congress as they partnered to bankrupt our public fisc and squander our moral and military advantage for six years, is now devoid of a true conservative who understands and believes in the principles that separate us from the squishy middle and the out-of-touch Left.

First, this C-PAC event shamed itself by inviting Donald Trump to speak. Who can take him seriously in a political context? He is not, nor has he ever been a conservative. How quickly C-PAC organizers apparently forget Trump’s support of and praise for both Bill and Hillary Clinton in all their campaigns–as well as the scores of other liberal Democrats he has financed in states where he buys their influence for his business interests. How quickly they also forget Trump’s sordid marital and sexual history.

This is someone to be listened to? Especially as he trashes the one candidate, Ron Paul, who has maintained steady and consistent principles for over thirty years?

Last Sunday we celebrated the 100th birthday of America’s greatest conservative leader, Ronald Reagan. But by Thursday we were listening to Donald Trump comment on public issues?

Do we need any more proof how far off the rails the Right has gone?

As for the other possible GOP 2012 presidential candidates, it is clear none of them connected in any emotional way with the majority of conservative activists sitting in that hotel ball room over the weekend and who came to DC desperate to find a new leader.

Instead, the candidates demonstrated their ability to pander–and their scripted anti-Obama rhetoric–but noneof them–other than Ron Paul-touched the souls of the thousands of activists who are the Army of the Right.

A note about Ron Paul: he is indeed a libertarian more than a traditional conservative. But the key to Ron is his constant adherence to his principles no matter how many times he has been defeated or his ideas rejected. Ron is the Energizer Bunny of the libertarian right–and we on the Right all respect that perseverance, as we have all been rejected, humiliated and treated with contempt over time by the smug leftists who think they are smarter than everyone else.

It was poor form of Trump to come to C-PAC and dump on Ron Paul. And it shows that Trump did not know his audience—or did not care about their respect for Congressman Paul.

What is clear is that we do not have a candidate–yet-who can unite the Right and win a majority of the crucial independent voters. Romney, Pawlenty, Huckabee and Barbour? It doesn’t look like any of them can do it. Nor can the others we have seen. They are lackluster and boring and without that special spark that could ignite a prairie fire that sweeps all across this land and then arrives in Washington determined to change the role of the federal government in our lives.

It may be that the GOP will again nominate a dud, ala McCain and Dole–and, frankly, both Bushes, who were uninspiring candidates who won because of other factors (Bush I won because Reagan was President and was handing the Oval Office off to Bush and Bush II might not really have won at all!).

If we do pick another uninspiring, inarticulate, unprincipled bore, Obama will win a second term.

But maybe–somewhere, somehow–in the next year a new candidate will emerge who can bring the passion of the Tea Party and the legacy of the Republican Party together and then give us a chance to save this country from the leftward lurch that threatens to bankrupt us all.

GOP—and Obama—Stumble

Lost in the ‘round-the-clock coverage of the Egyptian Revolution was the stunning announcement last week that the House GOP leadership was going to cut $32 Billion from the current budget.


This same GOP leadership—Boehner, Cantor and Ryan—had campaigned last year on the pledge of cutting $100 Billion.

Then, after the election, they scaled that back to a revised pledge to cut $50 billion.

And now they have—again—scaled that back to $32 billion in non-security discretionary spending. And this is in a budget projected to run a $1.5 trillion.

All they can find is $32 billion?

And there are no specifics about these cuts. (They promise to reveal them this week.)

At the other side of the conservative wing sits the Tea Party movement—and their demand to cut much, much more. Senator Jim Demint of South Carolina has called for $250 billion per year—for 10 years—for a total of $2.5 trillion.

Quite a gap, eh?

And there is certain to be quite an explosion on the Right when this pathetically-meager $32 billion dollar cut—some will call it a “timid sell-out”—is made public.

Here’s the rub: cutting government spending is very, very difficult. There are huge political and economic costs. Who is angered by these cuts? Which constituencies? Which lobbyists? How many government layoffs are created in an already tight job market?

Public opinion polls show the American people support generalizations such as “we need to reduce government spending,” but when specific cuts are proposed, the majority is against each one, especially entitlement cuts and reforms (which, along with the Pentagon, is where 85% of federal spending is.)

Conclusion: there is about to be a major clash between the GOP Establishment and the Tea Party over government spending cuts. And this will be a world-class battle – and will spread into the 2012 GOP Presidential primaries.

This will get ugly – with the presidential candidates pulled to the right and thus opposing the party’s DC establishment.

What a mess.

Meanwhile, at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue the President has pushed too hard in public against our ally, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. It is one thing to privately have an American envoy urge Mubarak to resign; it is altogether a different matter to do it in public as Obama and Hillary have done. They have embarrassed Mubarak—and thus earned disdain from our long-time ally.

The result is our other Mid-East allies are aghast and furious. Jordan, Iraq, the Saudis, even the Israelis, and several others are openly questioning just how loyal a friend President Obama really is? They correctly see a headline-happy publicity hound—Barack Obama—who cares only about one man: Barack Obama.

There will be consequences—perhaps dire—to Obama’s readiness to dispatch an ally.