by Warner Todd Huston | March 23, 2011 6:16 pm
RedCounty.com recently re-launched with an enhanced platform and as part of the relaunch, Chip Hanlon has been featuring a multipart interview with Speaker of the House John Boehner (R, OH). Today’s part two segment features the Speaker adamantly refusing to allow any government shut down and saying he will work hard to keep government open. (Part one is here)
Some conservatives will lament this singular focus on preventing a government shut down and worry that Boehner is more interested in keeping government open at any costs than he is in budget cuts. But the Speaker says that furthering the budget cuts is exactly why he wants to be sure and keep government from shutting down.
Well I had a front row seat back in 1995 and 1996 when this occurred, right? And what happens is the government shut down, the bright lights of the media end up on the White House, end up on the Congress, and it makes it difficult for either party to move. At the end of the day you’re going to end up getting less. Remember the goal here is to cut spending not shut down the government.
One thing is sure, the Republicans only control one small part of our national government — as Boehner says it’s “one half of one third of our national government.” Boehner reminds us in Hanlon’s interview that he cannot force the senate or the president to act on his budget cuts. So throwing everything at the wall just to see what sticks might be counter productive compared to a more targeted, slower process.
Certainly Speaker Boehner is correct that the House cannot just push all the budget cuts of their dreams all at once and expect them to go through. Conservatives, however, counter with the idea that we should push massive cuts and force the Democrats and the president to torpedo them. Conservatives feel that this is a winning item for 2012.
At some level I think conservatives are right. But I also believe that Boehner is right to a degree, here. Maybe not in his reason for avoiding massive all-at-once cuts (that hide-bound Democrats will fight too hard to stop cuts if government shuts down), but because it is too early to make a successful campaign issue by forcing Democrats to vote down the budget cuts. If we do this now, it isn’t likely that voters will remember it all nearly two years from now. Other, newer things will have intervened.
Better to get as many real budget cuts as we can now in a regular process and force the Democrats to swallow larger ones a little later when their vote against fiscal responsibility will resonate closer to the 2012 elections. This is no prescription for the House GOP to be timid, mind you. But it is a warning that going gonzo now would not likely be the best use of the issue. After all, without holding both the House and the Senate the GOP hasn’t the power to push that hard this early and win on it.
Whatever the political reality of this situation, though, it will be for sure that many conservatives will be unsatisfied with Boehner’s dedication to quick and massive budget cuts.
Be sure and go to Chip Hanlon’s page and hear the interviews.
Part One Here
Part Two Here
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