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Boehner, the grownup in the room, making the best of a bad situation

Posted by B. Daniel Blatt at 7:40 pm - December 4, 2012.
Filed under: Democratic demagoguery,National Politics

Had it not been for an apparent “purge” of conservative Representatives from the House Financial Services and Budget Committees, I would herald House Speaker John Boehner for his delicate balancing act as he faces a most difficult situation, trying to stand up for fiscal responsibility against a White House intent on playing political games, often with the cover of the national news media.

Yesterday, Boehner offered a sensible “counter” to the President’s fiscal cliff proposal, though John Hinderaker thinks it “incorrect” to describe it as  such, considering that “Obama hasn’t made an offer concrete or credible enough to be described as a proposal.”  Without a proposal, there’s can’t be a counter.

Boehner has given a little bit on the revenue side, earning on the ire of some on the right.

Instead of welcoming the Republican attempt to compromise, Obama and his team have dismissed it out of hand, with the president himself calling the planout of balance” (a term which could more accurately be used to describe the president’s plan).

Jennifer Rubin observes that

. . .it is not at all clear the White House is going to bother making any counteroffer, making it sticky for all those indignant lefty pundits who hollered that the president deserved a response to his offer. Now that he got one, what is the excuse for him declining to respond?

Wouldn’t a grownup in such negotiations make a counter offer?  Or at least respond in a more civil tone to the Republican proposal?

Perhaps, the president’s goal is to take us over the fiscal cliff so he can blame Republicans.  He does seem more interested in demagoguing the issue in campaign-style appearances and media interviews than in dialogue with top Republicans.

The election is over and the Democrat is still playing politics.  Even the voice of the Beltway establishment, David Gergen, thinks the Obama Democrats would rather humiliate the GOP than resolve the issue.  Charles Krauthammer agrees, saying his response is “all about politics“. (more…)

Seems movement on fiscal cliff is only coming from GOP . . .

. . .  intransigence from the White House:

Youth vote could tip to Republicans as it tipped to the Gipper

In 1980, Jimmy Carter narrowly edged Ronald Reagan among voters under 30, with the Gipper scoring just 44% of the twentysomething vote. Four years later, the Gipper ]increased his share of the youth vote to nearly 60%.

And while Barack Obama did just as well among young voters last month as the Gipper did in 1984, his share of the young vote has declined since his initial election.  Young voters grew to appreciate Reagan for his accomplishments; they seem more enchanted with Mr. Obama’s image.

Some seem to think that that the Republican’s current poor showing among young voters suggests the party could lose an “entire generation”  to Democrats.  But, this notion assumes that voters party identification remains fixed.  And that is hardly the case.  How will these young voters feel about Mr. Obama and his Democratic policies when the job market for their generation continues as it has these past for years?  Come 2016 (even 2014), they could be quite open to a Republican message expressed in terms similar to those offered by Reagan in the 1980s.

That said, the GOP today doesn’t so much have a youth vote problem as it has an ethnic problem.  Ben Domenech reminds us that

Mitt Romney won white voters under 30, even winning white women under 30. The youth voter barrier to the Republican Party is really the same barrier as it is for all age demographics: an ethnic barrier which concedes black, Hispanic, and Asian voters to Democrats.

(Read the whole thing even as the piece’s focus is on a different issue than this piece.)  If Mitt Romney could have made, as Ronald Reagan did, a pitch to all Americans, he likely would have done much better among young voter of all backgrounds.

And that must be the task of future Republican contenders.

Mitch Daniels’s Election Post-Mortem: Mitt Misreads Dependency

In perhaps the best short critique of Mitt Romney’s “47%” comment, outgoing Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels offers that Mr. Romney

. . . was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.

. . . .

that Mr. Romney “was right about the origin of his problem but wrong about its essence. Without doubt, we have a significant number of Americans for whom dependence and something for nothing have become a way of life. But they were far from 47% in number, and would have voted for the incumbent President under any circumstances.”

(Via Powerline picks.)  Read the whole thing.  Now, Romney was right to address the dependency issue, but he did so in a manner at odds with the dominant strain today of conservative thought.

A real conservative would worry about the growing culture of dependency, but express his belief that most Americans would embrace free-market opportunities should they be made available.  A Republican needs to be able to talk, as Ronald Reagan did, as Jack Kemp did, how conservative policies increase those opportunities and so reduce dependency, but in terms which can really command the assent of people who do not devote much attention to politics, even if they are currently dependent on a federal check for their subsistence.