Speaker John Boehner’s “Plan B” (B as in “Big Bomb”) is as dead as a Cowsills’ 45 record. Vinyl doesn’t wear well in the digital age, and Speaker Boehner’s plan to raise taxes didn’t woo GOP House caucus members or tea parties and grassroots conservatives across the republic. Boehner and his team were effectively trying to legislate against their party’s conservative base and the outcome was thankfully predictable.
Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Boehner’s other lieutenants have made a fine botch of not only their negotiations with President Obama, but the PR war that rages for the hearts and minds of Americans (such is just a continuation of the ham-handed Romney campaign’s poor communications and outreach strategies during the presidential election).
Boehner and Cantor were clearly knocked off their strides after Mr. Obama’s unexpected victory (for many on the right) over Mitt Romney. They haven’t seemed to recover since that Tuesday night in November. Like other establishment Republicans, Boehner and Cantor read too much into the president’s narrow popular vote win. Moreover, both men are clearly overmatched in their duel with the president, who sticks to his principles like superglue.
Boehner, particularly, has seemed cowed and groping versus confident in making conservative principles the cornerstones of his negotiations with the president. Boehner has played the role all too often played by Washington-ized Republicans: the enabler and fixer of Democrats’ excesses. The speaker has shown that he’d rather find ways to straighten out Washington’s big government mess than use the mess to push for badly needed far-reaching reforms and downsizing of the federal leviathan. Boehner’s had an opportunity to make history, and all he wants to do is sweep floors.
Uncle Sam’s problem has been and continues to be wild spending, outrageous debt, and unfunded liabilities that promise to crush working Americans and the economy as the near-years unfold. The problem hasn’t been and isn’t too little tax revenue into Uncle Sam’s coffers. That Boehner and his establishment GOP colleagues agreed to put taxes on the table ahead of any negotiations and resolution of spending cuts and entitlement reforms was a strategic error of the first magnitude. In so doing, the speaker ceded critical ground – in terms of good governance and politics – to the president. Thanks to the speaker’s myopic, craven approach, the message went out loud and clear to Americans: “The president is right. Spending and debt aren’t the big problems; tax revenue is the trouble. We Republicans agree to raise taxes.”
And on more than Thurston Howell III and other millionaires.