Wednesday, February 10, 2016

House Freedom Caucus Feeding PR Ammunition To White House On Obama Budget

by JASmius

At first I thought this story was about Barack Obama's ego - "How DARE those rightwing extremist racist Islamophobic homophobic trannyphobic - okay, and sexist - enemies of the state knaves object to me forcing my budget on them by executive decree!  Off with their heads!"  Then I got a closer look, and what did I see but congressional Republicans disintegrating before his infernal majesty all over again, and saving him the trouble:

The White House is going on an offensive push for its hefty $4.1 trillion election-year budget by attacking congressional Republicans for getting entangled in their own budget battles, the Hill reports.


After the administration unveiled its budget [orders] Tuesday, Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan fired off a news release calling out strife within the House GOP conference — and warning that top GOP lawmakers who want deeper cuts would "blow up" last fall's $1.1 trillion spending deal.

"The question here isn't a fight between the administration and Republicans, it's a fight within the Republican Party," Donovan said Tuesday, the Hill reports. "We've done our part with this budget. It's going to be up to them to see whether they could live up to their promises to get back to regular order."

He's not wrong, you know.  Perhaps you can make the optimistic argument that this is just a lame duck White House trying to pretend to be relevant and having a little fun at House 'Pubbies' expense.  Heaven knows I'd like to believe that.

But I want you to picture a scenario in which the House Freedom Caucus, unable to see (much - they did compromise on Paul Ryan for Speaker, after all) beyond the ends of their noses on tactics and strategy and utterly incapable of grasping how politics and PR figure into either, makes it impossible for Speaker Ryan to get back to regular order in the budget/appropriations process through their rigid unwillingness to recognize that they don't have the numbers to avoid having to compromise to some degree, bulldozing Ryan in precisely the same direction that they did his predecessor John Boehner - towards Obama and the Democrats - in order to, yes, "get things done".  As we saw a couple of months ago, it's not a pretty sight.

That is precisely what Shaun Donovan's comments are intended to encourage.  Stir up the pot that Tea Partiers can't resist, fan the flames of the GOP civil war, watch Paul Ryan roast in them, and come next fall, the Omnibus beast lurches towards D.C. to be born yet again.  For which the HFC will vilify him even though it was their intransigence that made it inevitable.

TPers can do their Captain Picard "The line must be drawn HERE!  THIS far, NO FURTHER!" thing, their "We can't wait!" Obama imitation, all they want.  But that plainly and simply isn't how politics works.  Unless you have the numbers to force your will on your opponents, you have to compromise to get anything of what you want.

You know what I want?  I want every last quark and gluon of the federal government that resides outside the boundaries of the original intent of the United States Constitution abolished and dismantled, and the federal budget shrunk by three-quarters, down to the approximately 5% of GDP that the late Tim "Loki" Kerlin once estimated.  Hell, I'd like that yesterday, please.  And if I had that kind of power, I wouldn't have been sitting in my recliner, shooting off resumes into the Phantom Zone and watching my life savings slowly ebb away for the past two and a half years,  Paul Ryan doesn't have that kind of power either.  Which ought to tell you how cloutless the HFC is, no matter how much they don't want to admit it.

What I'm saying is, isn't three quarters or two thirds or even half a loaf on regular order better than demanding the whole loaf, handing the initiative and power to Barack Obama, and winding up with an Omnibused third or a quarter or none?  And if you believe that he's a lame duck, isn't it better to close ranks and keep him that way?

Feel free to leave your outraged, fantasy-driven premise-questioning in the comments.  Peace out.

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