Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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January 21, 2011

'WE WANT MORE'.... It's almost inevitable that fissures within a congressional caucus, which were easier to paper over when in the minority, will come to the fore when that party wins a majority and has to actually govern. What Republicans may not have expected are these divisions to emerge just two weeks into their new House majority.

The issue, of course, is spending. The party's "Pledge to America" vowed to slash $100 billion from the budget in the first year, a promise that the leadership abandoned the day before being sworn in. The figure just wasn't realistic, especially given the abbreviated calendar for the fiscal year, and GOP leaders were eyeing cuts around half their original goal.

Yesterday, it became clear that the right-wing rank-and-file just aren't satisfied with their leaders' plans -- and they're not keeping their concerns to themselves.

House Republican leaders confronted pressure from conservatives on Thursday to take more aggressive steps to cut federal spending, with a large group of lawmakers calling for outlays to be slashed by $2.5 trillion over the next decade, far more than the party has sought so far.

The proposal, from the Republican Study Committee, a conservative bloc that counts more than two-thirds of House Republicans as members, calls for immediate reductions of at least $100 billion, compared with cuts in the current fiscal year of up to $80 billion being sought by party leaders.

"We want more," said Representative Mick Mulvaney, a freshman from South Carolina.

We talked briefly yesterday about the proposed plan to cut $2.5 trillion over the next decade, but it's worth emphasizing how truly ridiculous it is. In the short term, the cuts would eliminate, among other things, transportation and infrastructure projects, energy research, and aid to states. Over the longer term, these Republicans are also eyeing drastic cuts to education, medical research, law enforcement, and homeland security.

And perhaps most important of all, the plan would deliberately put tens of thousands of Americans out of work, making the jobs crisis worse, on purpose, because Republicans think it's a good idea.

The Republican Study Committee's chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), said, "I have never seen the American people more receptive, more ready for the tough-love measures that need to be taken to help fix the country." And by "tough love," Jordan means making devastating cuts to domestic spending, while keeping tax breaks for millionaires intact, and leaving the Pentagon budget untouched.

I'd bet him $2.5 trillion that the majority of the country strongly disagrees.

But these zealots are hard to convince, and don't seem especially inclined to follow the lead of their leaders.

Rank and file Republicans aren't happy with House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI). They think the GOP should take a hatchet to the federal budget now, to make good on their pledge to slash spending by $100 billion "this year." And their displeasure is spilling out into the open.

"Despite the added challenge of being four months into the current fiscal year, we still must keep our $100 billion pledge to the American people," reads a draft of a letter to Boehner, obtained by TPM, being circulated by the Republican Study Committee. "These $100 billion in cuts to non-security discretionary spending not only ensure that we keep our word to the American people; they represent a credible down payment on the fiscally responsible measures that will be needed to get the nation's finances back on track."

The next question is what John Boehner and his team, who helped create this monster, intend to do about all of this. At this point, they don't appear to have any idea.

Frankenstein didn't know what to do with his monster, either.

Steve Benen 8:00 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (26)

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Comments

They'll fall into line.

They always do.

Posted by: terraformer on January 21, 2011 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

And the villagers won't be able to afford to buy torches and pitchforks if the teabagger Republicancers get their way.

Posted by: tko on January 21, 2011 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

Fasten your seatbelts. This ride could be bumpy.

The tea party congressmen and women are on a mission from God. They won't be deterred by facts and commonsense.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 21, 2011 at 8:09 AM | PERMALINK

And do not forget Arizona Republicans: Governor Brewer wants to cut 280,000 people from AHCCCS, Arizona's version of Medicaid, without any provisions for people who have high maintenance diseases like AIDS and diabetes. If this is just a game to draw attention to the incompetent way Arizona has given up revenue streams to businesses and rich the tactic is in really poor taste. If not, what an utterly callous policy that  balances the budget by cutting health care for those who can least afford it. We are consciously creating a tragedy of potentially epic proportions as the people delay or do not go to doctors when ill, go unvaccinated, and take home remedies for infectious diseases.  Arizona needs health care equality for all its citizens, not just the favored few.

Posted by: KurtRex1453 on January 21, 2011 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

How much worse would the economy be if this "plan" was implemented? I'd have to think several states would go into default; the construction industry would clearly take a major hit; roads/bridges in some areas would fall into even more disrepair. And these numbskulls think the public wants this?

Posted by: Mike Lamb on January 21, 2011 at 8:12 AM | PERMALINK

The strategy for 2012 will be the same as for last year. The demanded cuts in government spending will cause an increase in unemployment, which the GOP will then blame on the President and his "anti-business" mentality. The voters will then return even more Republicans, who will proceed to cut public spending and increase unemployment even more. The voters fell for the scam in 2010 and may do so again.

Posted by: davidp on January 21, 2011 at 8:25 AM | PERMALINK

"I have never seen the American people more receptive, more ready for the tough-love measures..."
Well, yeah, of course they are. Ya know why? Because everybody thinks that the cuts will happen to someone else!!! This was a problem back during Reagan's first year in office and the problem has remained immovable and unchanged ever since. Everybody thinks that the cuts, no matter how deep, will magically spare them and their programs. Nothing they need will ever be cut. The cuts will always happen to someone else, somebody they don't know and don't care about.

Posted by: Rich2506 on January 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

"Frankenstein didn't know what to do with his monster, either."

No he didn't, initally. But after careful thought he decided to create a bride for him. PALINaroundwithterrorists fits that bill nicely. These wingnuts are going to ram these cuts through and set the table for the "bride" to champion the cuts in her successful bid for the nomination to run against Obama.

Let's see. For those of you who are counting, the far right has amassed:

The Media. Newspaper and TV/Radio
The SCOTUS with rulings like the one giving citizenship to Corporations
Corporations
Lobbiests
The NRA
Willingness to bald face lie
Congress
A stupid electorate afraid of whatever they are told to be afraid of

The left has:

Obama
A thinned Senate

Not a fair fight. President PALINaroundwithterrorists

See you all in Belgium...

Posted by: stevio on January 21, 2011 at 8:35 AM | PERMALINK

I spend part of the year in Florida. The seniors down there have gutted government services for everything except old people. The schools suck. The roads are bad. Basic services are horrible. Health care is focused on the needs of the old. Florida is not a pleasant place to live if you are under 65.

In 2008 a bunch of white senior citizens elected tea party congress critters who share their "values." We have all focused on the racial make up of the tea party. We really ought to have paid attention to their age.

They are old and they want America to act like it is old. They are past their prime and they assume America is past it's prime as well. Younger people need to involve themselves in politics or grandma and grandpa are going to leave them citizens of the third world. Remember the boomer generation has theirs and they don't like to share.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 21, 2011 at 8:36 AM | PERMALINK

Unfortunately, davidp nails it.

Posted by: sapient on January 21, 2011 at 8:37 AM | PERMALINK

2008? No 2010. Damn. I am getting old.

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 21, 2011 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

I think a number of us wrote about this shortly after the election. A lot of these folks did not go to DC to "go along to get along". They are NOT interested in passing legislation; they have a narrow, or reverse, view of how government works; they do not really have a lot owed to Boner and co. Hell the RNC was a mess, and the R's picked up the House.

This will get ugly, quickly. Not sure what the Dem strategy should be. On the list that I saw, frankly, there were some things that could be cut. Many are low cost things that won't make a difference - and this where some simple math comes in. You'd need to cut 1000 10 mil programs just to get to 100 bil; some of the big ticket cuts will elicit howls from some interest group or other.

Go after things in R districts? But in the end, you canno tmake a dent w/o going after Defense. no way, no how.

Posted by: bigtuna on January 21, 2011 at 8:39 AM | PERMALINK

NPR this morning said that the so-called "fiscal conservatives" are demanding deep cuts in non-defense spending. That tells you right there how unserious they are. Defense spending is nearly 20% of the 2010 budget and the biggest line item after Social Security, which has its own revenue stream. We also spend on the military roughly what the rest of the world combined spends.

The GOP's "guns, no butter" approach is simply lunatic, and -- along with their refusal to countenance tax cuts -- shows how unserious they are about actually governing.

Posted by: Gregory on January 21, 2011 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Article: "The next question is what John Boehner and his team, who helped create this monster, intend to do about all of this. At this point, they don't appear to have any idea."

They will do something really stupid, like try and shut down the government or refuse to raise the debt ceiling, and the latter would be disastrous for investors. They will also further alienate Independents, who do not suffer fools gladly. Yesterday's stunt (repealing the ACA) is polling between 18% and 31%. Look for more of the same, and Sniffles and his lap dog Cantor haven't got a clue.

Posted by: max on January 21, 2011 at 8:48 AM | PERMALINK

"The next question is what John Boehner and his team, who helped create this monster, intend to do about all of this. At this point, they don't appear to have any idea."

Things are already veering into Twilight Zone territory and they've only had control of the House for a couple of weeks. After two years of this I have a feeling the voters will solve the problem for them.

Posted by: SaintZak on January 21, 2011 at 8:52 AM | PERMALINK

Republicans: The Party of Class Warfare and Actual Warfare.

Posted by: martin on January 21, 2011 at 8:53 AM | PERMALINK

Who will be left holding the middle ground here in America? When will we need to start hiring our own militias? Why are these anarchists disguising themselves as elected democratic leaders of a Republican stripe when they insist on insulting the legacies of Lincoln, Roosevelt and Eisenhower on a daily basis?

While in the halls of Congress, make sure you feel welcomed to the Republican's war on government! -Kevo

Posted by: kevo on January 21, 2011 at 9:12 AM | PERMALINK

The last time the GOP shut down the government, they ate it, big time, in the aftereffects. It will be worse this time because there is a major unemployment problem to boot. They will shut down government and even possibly cause the government to auto-default. THAT would be the most disastrous thing ever done by any political group in the history of the country right there.

These clowns are not long for this government. They will so destroy the unemployed masses and many of the currently employed that it is unlikely they will be able to leave their congressional offices for fear of literally being spit on pikes and burned at literal stakes.

Posted by: Praedor on January 21, 2011 at 9:18 AM | PERMALINK

What will Boehner and team do, get the Democrats to bail them out again. Harry Reid is now Boehner's BFF.

Posted by: Th on January 21, 2011 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK

I want higher taxes! I want us out of debt!

Posted by: Trollop on January 21, 2011 at 9:37 AM | PERMALINK

The Republican Party seems to have been taken over by a bunch of Aldermen!

Posted by: Hessville T on January 21, 2011 at 9:59 AM | PERMALINK

One of the things you have to keep in mind, a lot of the Tea Party people come from state legislatures. They have been cutting needed services for years. They actually think the voters will reward them. What they don't realize is that money from the Feds has papered over their state focused crazy. If they cut at the Federal level the way they have cut their states we will suffer real pain. How about abandoning paved roads in much of the country? Think that might get somebody's attention?

Posted by: Ron Byers on January 21, 2011 at 10:00 AM | PERMALINK

The GOP is dividend into two distinct camps: the Sociopaths and the Clowns.

The Sociopaths know full well that liberal policies, including Keynesian economic policies, are best for the vast majority of Americans. But those policies aren't best for the Sociopaths, so they are determined to avoid their implementation at all costs lest liberal policies be tried and be effective.

Having intellectual debates with Sociopaths is the job of fools and Steve Benen. (aside to Steve Benen: if GOP leaders are willing to drive economy into the ground to defeat Obama -- and they are -- and they really thought that a massive Keynesian stimulus package would have been a huge failure they would have let the Democrats pass a $1.5T package and then blamed them for both the resulting economic decline AND the deficit. The reason they fought it was because they knew it would work.)

Then there are the Clowns: the Teabaggers who actually believe this voodoo economic bullshit. Incidentally, debating with them is also the job of fools and Steve Benen since these people are dumber than a box of rocks and impervious to logic and empirical data.

It is rather sad that Steve Benen dedicates 90% of his posts to stating the obvious: that GOP policies are bad and their arguments specious. And Benen dedicates virtually no time to analyzing why Democrats are so piss-poor at politics that they can take a shellacking at the ballot box from Sociopaths an Clowns.

Posted by: square1 on January 21, 2011 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

From the last linked article:

conservative allies are asking that their favorite programs get spared — the Chamber of Commerce, for one, wants highway spending left alone.

the first post @ 8:06 nails it.

Posted by: BetweenTheLines on January 21, 2011 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK
The Republican Study Committee's chairman, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), said, "I have never seen the American people more receptive, more ready for the tough-love measures that need to be taken to help fix the country." And by "tough love," Jordan means making devastating cuts to domestic spending, while keeping tax breaks for millionaires intact, and leaving the Pentagon budget untouched.

And by "the American people," he, like most conservatives, means people who already agree with him, who are the only ones he talks to.

Posted by: Redshift on January 21, 2011 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

Mulvaney was able to beat John Spratt in South Carolina thanks to the Citizens United decision by the Supreme Court and the generosity of rightwing billionaires like the Koch brothers and their hired hands like Karl Rove. It's a crying shame. Mulvaney's campaign against Spratt was nothing but lies and distortions. Steve - keep shining a light on Mulvaney. We replaced a budget expert (Spratt) with somebody who owes his seat to the Tea Party.

Posted by: MuddyLee on January 21, 2011 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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