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Thursday, December 17, 2015

GOPEstablishmentSins: Glass Half-Full Bonus Round

by JASmius

Let us all remind ourselves of what the Heritage Foundation is incapable of understanding: You're not going to get everything you want and skunk the other side in a time of divided government, and that it was the stalemate everybody should have expected was not the fault of the guy who's only had the Big Gavel for a couple of months.

Here is the final score, with all the bark on:

GOP Wins:

1) $680 billion in tax breaks.  Or, put another way, averting another round of tax hikes.  That's a good thing, isn't it?

2) Speaker Ryan's uniting of the party.  ""In terms of the process, I can tell you I’ve had more meaningful conversations with the speaker and leadership in the last couple of weeks than I think I have in the last couple of years," said Representative Mark Meadows, who instigated the revolt against former Speaker John Boehner this fall, Politico reported. "I would give it an A-plus in terms of trying to reach out to the rank and file."  So is the House Freedom Caucus now a bunch of filthy RINOs too, Heritage?

3) Ending the ban on crude oil exports.  After forty years.  An economic boon.  How is this not huge?

4) Functionally ending the ObamaCare "Cadillac" and medical device taxes.  A small but measurable repeal of part of ObamaCare.  In the words of Syndrome, "Oh, come ON, you gotta admit this is cool!"

5) Health insurance for 9/11 first responders.  What would Heritage have said if the majority had let this one go by the boards?

6) Overhauling the Visa Waiver program.  "The new spending bill will bar anyone who has visited Syria or Iraq in the last five years from entering the U.S. without a visa. Additionally, "anyone who is a national of Iraq or Syria in addition to being a national of a partner country" will also be barred from obtaining a Visa Waiver, Politico reported. The provision also allows the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department to bar entire countries from the program if they're suspected of harboring terrorists."  It's not the Muslim ban Trump doesn't really believe in, but it's a significant step in the right direction.,

7) Enhanced cybersecurity. The spending bill includes legislation that will "encourage companies to share with the government and each other technical details of hacking threats (for example, IP addresses or malicious code), as close to in real time as possible."  Yeah, that one's a reach; if it said "incentivize" or "require," it'd be easier to get fired up about it.

GOP Losses:

1) $1.1 trillion in spending.  It was another year-end, crisis, throw-up-our-hands-and-throw-everything-in-one-pot-fiscal-stew- because-we-can't-budget-anymore deal that Paul Ryan inherited and had to make the best of.  His overall objective in it was primarily to salvage what he could and get past it to start the FY 2017 cycle with a clean slate and get back to regular-order budgeting so that these fiscal forty-seven car pile-ups with all the boodle slipped into them that give the Dems such disproportionate leverage can be rendered a thing of the past.  An objective to which the new Speaker will, and should, most definitely be held.

2) Extending wind and solar subsidies.  Just as I predicted.

3) Failure to halt Syrian refugee resettlement program.  If anything was worth a shutdown showdown, this one was, because American lives are at stake.

4) Planned Parenthood keeps funding.  As they were always going to, because the bulk of it flows through Medicaid, not the discretionary appropriations process, and the privatization of any entitlement program is not a hill worth dying on when the government is still divided.

Once again, my Tea Party friends, you can't fight every single battle.  You have to prioritize.  Of the four losses, #1 and #2 will take care of themselves assuming Paul Ryan delivers next year, #3 was worth going to the mat, and #4 has to wait for a Republican at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.  But in the mean time, we didn't get skunked, either.

You don't fire your defensive coordinator the first time your defense gives up a touchdown, after all, because that's part of the game.  The other team is going to score on you.  The point is to score more on them by the final gun.  In this round, the case can be made that the Republicans, narrowly, came out ahead.

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