The bureaucrats in Washington reached a deal yesterday to re-open the government and extend the debt ceiling. The final deal has many conservatives upset, but let not your heart be troubled.
The particulars of the deal are this: The government will be funded through January 15th and it raises the debt ceiling through February 7th. But there were other goodies attached to the deal including income verification for Obamacare subsidy recipients (already in the law) as well as a number of pork barrel projects. Some of these include a $3 billion locks and dam project in Kentucky, $450 million for emergency funding for Colorado in the wake of the flooding, and $174,000 for the widow of the late Sen. Frank Lautenberg. So much for the demands of a “clean” resolution.
Breitbart has a run-down of which Republican Congressmen and Senators voted for the deal and which ones voted against.
In essence, Washington has kicked the can down the road once again. Conservatives are disappointed by the fact that Obamacare remains intact and by the fact that there is no real long-term solutions to our fiscal problems. We are told that we are going to talk about solutions to these problems, but we already know, for example, that the president is going to demand more tax increases. That isn't going to go over well with Republicans. Here we go again …
If you look at the headlines today in the mainstream media, they are gleeful to declare this a “victory” for Barack Obama. But I wouldn't be too sure about that. Here are a few reasons why:
- Barack Obama still has to prove himself to be a leader, which I'm not sure he is capable of doing. Obama's presidency was quickly turning into a lame duck term, and I don't think this “victory” will do much to turn that around.
- Democrats still own Obamacare. This is their train wreck, lock-stock-and-barrel. While conservatives disappointingly didn't win this battle over Obamacare, this boondoggle will be an albatross around the Democrats' neck in the 2014 elections. Unfortunately this comes at the expense of American jobs, healthcare and costs. Conservative Republicans were trying to avoid this, but apparently Democrats insist on inflicting pain on the American people because they care about their liberal ideology more than you. Liberalism may sound good on paper, but it's never pretty in reality. The Democrats will own this monstrosity and conservatives must make sure the American people know that. This is where messaging will matter more than ever.
Obama's speech last night hit the appropriate tone. He talked of our need to move beyond governing by crisis, for example. What he fails to tell you is that we could avoid these crises if Democrats would simply pass a budget (avoiding these short-term CRs) and get spending under control (avoiding the need to increase our debt ceiling).
But that was short-lived. Today Obama had the audacity to lecture us on the need for civility and compromise. Yet again he blamed the Republicans, and he said we should stop listening to activists and “talking heads on the radio.” Well guess what, Mr. President … many of those talking heads on the radio are voicing the opinions of the American people! He said we must focus on growing the economy, but this is outrageous for two reasons:
- His ideas of how to grow the economy include bigger government and more taxes.
- His attempts to grow the economy over the last 5 years have been abysmal.
Furthermore, Obama is already ready to wage another battle, which I'm fairly confident the American people don't have the stomach for: Immigration reform. With only 13% of America feeling as though the country is on the right track, it's hard to believe that a debate over illegal immigration will be just what the doctor ordered.
At some point very soon, Obama is going to have to work with Democrats and Republicans on a long-term budget deal. It's hard to believe this will be possible, considering the rhetoric we've heard over the last few weeks. Don't you think Republicans will hold some residual resentment over the incendiary language we've heard? It's got to be hard to strike a deal with someone who recently compared you to a terrorist or call you an arsonists or an extortionist. Then again, maybe these guys are used to it. It still seems uncalled for in my book.
The bottom line in all of this is that conservatives should be disappointed about this short-term political loss, but they should not be down about the conservative movement in America. We are seeing some strong, bold leaders emerge in Washington – Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul – and this should be encouraging. What these guys and others like Louie Gohmert and Michele Bachmann have shown is that conservatism is worth fighting for. They've awakened the American people, they've energized the base and they are forcing Republicans to act like real conservatives. Before now, that could rarely be said. That's why I say that we should not let our hearts be troubled. The battle for conservatism has just begun and between leaders in Washington and us fellow Americans, things will change. They already have.
This was a battle worth fighting, even if it didn't turn out how we wanted in the end. In the long-run, what has happened over the last few weeks has helped to build the foundation for a conservative revolution in America.