It's tough being House Speaker. John Boehner has to be the standard bearer for the national party, for his caucus, yet he also has to work out comprehensive compromises in order to get anything done. This task has gone from really difficult to just plain impossible. If his party does not back his proposals, it makes him look bad and hurts his hand in negotiations. His Plan B got an F from his conference before he put it up for the vote. At least former speaker Newt Gingrich was willing to let his caucus vote for articles of reprimand against him so that the media would not be distracted. That House Speaker nearly reduced the Presidency to second-tier status.
More than Nancy Pelosi, John Boehner has remained in the spotlight in spite of harsh circumstances and punishing difficulties with a caucus that wants to deal on spending but will not budge on taxes. Boehner had a responsibility to reach out to both sides of his own conference, to find some common ground to get something done. He has done his job, but his rebellious members on the right are making his job harder. The Chris Christie principle must apply here: Do not give on your core principles, but do not expect to get everything that you want. The primary challenges across the country against moderate and centrist Republicans are causing more problems at this point. A more federalized respect for the different caucuses in this country will help the GOP expand their tent without expelling members or expending their opportunities.
The United States government has to deal with entitlements. These programs are the biggest drivers of our country's debt. More than the military, more than earmarks, more than any other form of spending. The GOP caucus must not give an inch on this issue. The President wants to raise revenues on the $250k crowd, which includes small businesses, many of who are the biggest drivers of job growth. The GOP has signalled their willingness to raise taxes on millionaires, nothing more, along with comprehensive entitlement reforms. The Speaker of the House has a responsibility to corral his members in such a way so that they send the proper image about their conference's values.
What are the values, then? Are we going to cut spending, or not? What are they
going to do about the corporate subsidies? Every left-wing and right-wing pundit has offered support for the corporate handouts and the wealthy welfare. Enough is enough. Leading Republicans, from John Boehner on down, were willing to raise taxes, but if the Democratic Party refuses to get serious about entitlements, then off the cliff we go.
Even "The Nation"'s Katrina Vanden Heuvel has stated the obvious: "This is a media manufactured" frenzy. The nationwide press has made more out of a final decision than the long-term needs of this country. The "MySpace", "Twitter" and hyper-net culture is driving our national discourse, when our leaders need to pay attention to the needs of the country, not the rapacious, slavish desires of a hungry media mania looking for any report to report.
It's time for the Democratic Party to show its true colors: do they really want to deal with the debt or not? Do the liberal elements in this country not understand that a rising debt creates a rising burden on the government to leverage this debt? How much money will this country have to spend on interest in the next two or three years? For the Democratic elements who claim that they "want to help people", how can they justify taxing job creators and refusing to deal with the debt?
Whether John Boehner survives this fight or not, the Republican Party must
amass a strong, centrist message, not one which compromises on core values, but one which cooperates with spending cuts across the board yet refuses to push away the need for entitlement restructuring. And the GOP media machines must prepare to outline what they did, and what the oppositions refused to do should the federal government go over "the fiscal cliff".