Saturday, July 30, 2011

That Ain't No Promised Land

In an effort to bridge the timeline between now and the next election, practical Republicans have said they'd love them some many hundreds of billions of dollars in added debt over the short term in order to budget an additional $7 trillion in debt over the next ten years.

This is the new face of fiscal and political practicality.

Now, even the impractical among us knew that the Boehner bill, as written, was as dead on arrival as the dermis underneath a Nancy Pelosi botoxic expression. We'll just have to wait and see what the mouldering Harry Reid can do to the bill before he sends it back to Boehner.

Wherever this leads, many of us in the tea party are being considered "impractical" or "hobbits" by the establishment GOP because we are not falling in line behind our christened party leaders in their Orwellian attempts to rein in spending.

But, from an equally practical standpoint, what evidence do we hobbits have from these GOP leaders that they have any intention of cutting overall spending when, according to the lexicon they employ, a $1 trillion cut in spending in reality is an $8 trillion increase in spending over ten years?

Let's go back a few years. It was a Republican president with great Republican support that gave us No Child Left Behind and the prescription drug benefit. TARP was a bipartisan fiscal calamity. Every one of these examples have the sticky fingerprints of John Boehner all over them.

When Boehner's support of these massive government expansions is juxtaposed with a bill that approves of an additional $8 trillion in spending over the next ten years, the practical among us hobbits begin to think that Boehner might be part of the problem and in no way capable of or interested in finding a solution.

So, ya, I'm not too happy with what the tea party has been able to accomplish so far, but I realize that we've only been a movement for the past three years, and I also realize that for the time being our little movement only occupies the caboose of a long established train.

My representative, Dan Benishek, was elected with support of the tea party, but he is not a member of the tea party caucus. He is one of the dutiful republicans that, in a thrust of practicality, got his ass in line behind John Boehner. I had two signs in my lawn that proclaimed my support of Benishek in the last election. They announced clearly that "Enough is enough." Now, as it turns out, perhaps they should have read "Enough might not quite be enough yet, but after getting my ass in line a time or two, enough really will be enough!"

But, while I'm a bit miffed at the moment, I'm not certain this is totally fair to Benishek. I'm certain he made what he thought was the best "practical" decision. I'm certain he believes that with one more election under our belts, with added Republican control over the Presidency (if they are able to gather it,) with added control over the Senate (again, if they are able to gather it,) and an expanded control of the House of Representatives, that real change can finally take place. I believe that he thinks that to see tea party people act impractically at this juncture would put additional Republican gains in the next election in greater doubt.

On all of these counts he might be exactly correct. The problem is, of course, that we hobbits know in our heart of hearts that the current GOP leadership is not to be trusted with the future of our children and grandchildren. We know the track record. We've seen them in action.

Establishment GOPers want me to have confidence in them for their vision of the future. They want me to believe that they will do the right thing. They want me to not only end my protests, but to buy in. But they cannot point to any history that would help me gain the confidence they demand. They were happy to gain back the House in large measure because of the tea party, but they were even happier to assume their positions in power while commanding the rest of us to "get our asses in line."

To a simple sort of hobbit, this seems suspiciously like business as usual.

We'll have to see how all of this works out, and while I don't necessarily support a primary challenge to Dan Benishek over this, I certainly support any effort that would oust John Boehner from his anointed leadership position.

We know the types of government programs that he supports. We know the types of deals he is willing to make. We've heard the condescension and we're wet with the drippings of his practicality.

Oh, he's a leader all right, but it ain't no promised land that he's leading to.

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