Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, the federal government won’t be adequately downsized in one round of budget negotiations
Not all conservatives believe the budget agreement Speaker Boehner negotiated with President Obama and Majority Leader Reid was a “win” for our side. Mark Levin thinks Beltway Republicans were had (via Instapundit). David Freddoso reminds us of the “argument that if we can’t even handle small cuts, it bodes poorly for the future debate over large ones.”
He also brings up another argument: “Republicans come out of this with a political advantage and an air of responsible governance and adulthood that could help them in the coming debate.” Until conservatives control both houses of Congress — and the White House — we won’t be able to see the kind of cuts we need to bring the government’s expenditures in line with its income.*
Finding “silliness” on both sides, Jennifer Rubin points out that we have heard . . .
. . . a few hard-line congressmen proclaim that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) didn’t get “enough” or that a shutdown would have been a win for the Republicans. These are the voices of the perpetually aggrieved on the right who will oppose any deal because their aim is not conservative governance but confrontation and incitement of an anti-Washington base. For these folks the “best deal possible” is not a statement of mature leadership, but a sell-out.
Nevertheless, we also know that the cranky voices are a very small minority in the House (only 28 Republicans voted against the short-term CR in the wee hours of the night). Moreover, Tea Partyers whom the Democrats were setting up to take the fall in the event of a shutdown were overwhelmingly positive about the deal. Perhaps the anti-dealmaking right is largely a creation of liberal media and of a few sour conservative pundits.
Look, I agree with these conservatives that these cuts weren’t deep enough, but we all need bear in mind the truth of that old maxim about the city which from its rise in the century before the common era until nearly a millennium after its fall remained the most important jurisdiction in the West. Rome wasn’t built in a day. And it will take more than a day — or one campaign cycle — to reduce the power and size of the new Rome on the Potomac.
But, we’ve started removing the bricks from a few of the newer edifices. And it will take time to cut them — and related institutions — down to size. And to that, we’re going to need patience, fortitude and the determination to fight entrenched powers.
Philip Klein reminds us just how little of their agenda Democrats got through when they controlled both houses of Congress at a time when the Republican chief executive had little political capital:
Even when Democrats controlled both chambers of Congress from 2007 to 2009 and President Bush’s approval ratings were in the 20s and 30s, liberals didn’t get much of anything they wanted. Bush got his Iraq troop surge and he vetoed the expansion of the children’s health program S-CHIP, and Democrats couldn’t stop him even though the public was on their side. But they used this reality to motivate their base of voters as to why they needed more Democrats in Congress and a Democratic president — and one of the first things they did when Obama was president was to pass the S-CHIP expansion again, which Obama signed two weeks into office.
Let us hope the need to make more extensive cuts keeps Tea Party types motivated, particularly in states like Montana, Nebraska, Missouri, Ohio, Florida, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, New Jersey, Minnesota and Washington State where big-spending Democratic incumbent Senators are up for reelection in 2012. (Not to mention New Mexico, Connecticut, North Dakota and Virginia where open Democratic seats are ripe for Republican takeover.)
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