Most mainstream conservatives, including many Tea Party leaders are, as Jonathan Weisman and Jennifer Levitz of the Wall Street Journal put it when writing about the latter group “generally giving House Speaker John Boehner high marks for his leadership in the spending showdown, even though the agreement eventually reached Friday night fell short of the cuts the tea party once demanded.”
Given the circumstances, leading only one-half of one-third of the federal government, Boehner accomplished a good deal. No, the cuts weren’t deep enough, but this wasn’t yet the big battle, just a skirmish in anticipation of a bigger fight to come. As John Hinderaker put it:
The fight over FY 2011 spending was really an afterthought, driven by the fact that the Democrats never got around to passing a budget last year. The real battles will come this summer, first over legislation to raise the debt ceiling, which can’t be avoided; then, perhaps, over the FY 2012 budget, although the Democrats might try to dodge that fight by, once again, refusing to adopt a budget at all.
And while we conservatives wish we had seen bigger cuts, this budget deal, in the words of Politico, “leaves liberals disheartened“. They feel the cuts are too great and believe that we shouldn’t cut spending while the economy remains “fragile.”
If they’re angry, they should point the finger at their own party, not just its leaders who agreed to the deal this week, but its legislators who failed to pass a budget last year. Perhaps, they’re upset because the deal — and the negotiations leading up to it show just how much the debate as changed. As John Bresnahan and Jake Sherman write in Politico:
In a larger sense, Boehner has achieved more than just a short-term budget victory — in his first three months as speaker, he’s helped turn the entire Washington dialogue into a debate about the size and scope of government. He started the year by getting rid of earmarks, he’s pushing through some of the deepest spending cuts in American history, and he’ll now try to get most of the GOP Conference on board with Rep. Paul Ryan’s fiscal 2012 budget — one of the most audacious long-term spending plans in recent memory.
Emphasis added. “Spending cuts,” Michael Barone writes, “are hot in the political marketplace“. And Speaker Boehner, as his colleague Susan Ferrechio writes, “scores a historic win in [a] test of [his] leadership“.