While, given the totality of the circumstances, I would score the recent budget deal as a “win” for the GOP and conservatives, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that rather than win this round in the the budget “battle,” conservatives merely gained more than they gave up.
Yes, our federal debt still remains unacceptably high, but two of the three principal parties (President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Reid) are Democrats. That the sole Republican in the trio, House Speaker John Boehner, managed to secure nearly two-third of the cuts passed by his chamber is quite an achievement. Given the ratio in the negotiations, it should have been the other way ’round.
That said, this is only the time for a victory lap if that lap serves as a brief respite before preparing for the next “race.” Over at Patterico, Aaron Worthing blogged that “more than a few” of his readers “noticed that I was a little irritated by the victory dance“:
I wasn’t trying to bash the Republicans for the deal on its merits. They only control one house of Congress, after all. But if I had been there, I would not have put up with that celebratory attitude.
Fair point, and Worthing does give the Speaker credit for his statement yesterday where the Ohio Republican acknowledged that “the agreement is far from perfect, and we need to do much more if we’re serious about creating new jobs, fixing our spending-driven debt crisis“. And that’s exactly where I am—and where I suspect most conservatives are. A good first step, but only a first step.
As the Wall Street Journal editors remind us:
On the other hand, the Obama-Pelosi Leviathan wasn’t built in a day, and it won’t be cut down to size in one budget. Especially not in a fiscal year that only has six months left and with Democrats running the Senate and White House. Friday’s deal cuts more spending in any single year than we can remember, $78 billion more than President Obama first proposed. Domestic discretionary spending grew by 6% in 2008, 11% in 2009 and 14% in 2010, but this year will fall by 4%. That’s no small reversal.
The budget does this while holding the line against defense cuts that Democrats wanted and restoring the school voucher program for Washington, D.C. for thousands of poor children. . . .
The political gains are also considerable. When Mr. Obama introduced his 2012 budget in February, he proposed more spending on his priorities in return for essentially no cuts. Two months later, the debate is entirely about how much spending to cut and which part of government to reform. Democrats were forced to play defense nearly across the board, obliged to defend programs (National Public Radio) that were once thought to be untouchable shrines of modern liberalism.
And now the president forced to put together a “do-over budget.”