How did our Republican Party become this beaten down relic playing chicken with Democrats bent on destroying the economy? Republicans seem to have convinced themselves that they are fighting a losing battle against public misperception and a hostile media, but they are also losing the fight they have been waging against their own ideology. Has the time finally come? Is the Republican Party no longer a credible force for limited government conservatives?
Government budget battle compromise on taxes means selling out.
Remember last year’s embarrassing year-end triple take on the payroll tax cut (see: Republicans Salvage a Loss From Certain Win Over Tax Cut)? The battle for our incomes is still in its early stages, but the GOP has set a precedent for waffling on issues and backing down from positions with which there can be no compromise.
Proclaiming that “The deck is stacked against limited government and fiscal responsibility.”¹, The Pledge to America espoused ideas resurrected by Tea Party conservatives:
We pledge to honor the Constitution as constructed by its framers and honor the original intent of those precepts that have been consistently ignored . . .²
The GOP Pledge has fallen by the wayside in the rush to stave off a fiscal crisis that would not exist had Congress not spent decades ridiculing the Founding Fathers’ intentions by ignoring America’s limited government roots. All signs from Washington are that Democrats and the White House will ensure that the foundations upon which this country was built are disregarded not just for next year, but for many years to come.
Complicity on spending cuts bought us a fiscal crisis.
The Democratic Party’s future depends on irresponsible, archaic tax and spend policy, something our president is pursuing with a zeal that puts the GOP’s position on tax hikes to shame. Limited government conservatives will never be able to cut an acceptable deal with a president who believes that the spoils from winning the government budget battle will chart the course for future fiscal policy:
And the outcome of this debate that we’re having is going to set the stage not just for the next year or five years, but for the next twenty.³
Or who criticizes Republicans for having the audacity to think that those with money are the ones who create wealth and jobs:
They think that the economy grows from the top down.4
Do Americans really believe that our future depends on finding a revenue source for government handouts sufficient to grow the economy from the bottom up?
There is no debt limit.
Like the fiscal precipice being used by both parties to threaten Americans and instill more uncertainty in our business sector, the debt limit is a bean counter’s exercise made necessary by our refusal to reign in debt and spending. There is no debt limit. If there was, we couldn’t raise it whenever the consequences of our spending catch up to us.
Did the GOP fall for Reid’s anti-Tea Party rhetoric?
How did these remarks from our limited government House Speaker about the now-despised 2011 Budget Control Act segue to talk of conceding on tax hikes?
We’re here to change Washington – no more smoke-and- mirrors, no more ‘phantom cuts.’ We promised that we will cut spending more than we increase the debt limit – with no tax hikes – and we will keep that promise.5
Republicans have invoked the words “balanced approach,” perhaps forgetting that this is a mainstay of Democratic tax and spend rhetoric:
We believe that in order to avert the coming fiscal cliff, a balanced approach is necessary. The president, however, does not seem to agree.6
The president likes the phrase, too. He has been talking about his take on a balanced approach since he took office. It means tax hikes:
This balanced approach asks everyone to give a little without requiring anyone to sacrifice too much.7
Time for limited government conservatives to shop for a new party?
Republicans had four years to figure out how to unseat Obama. A primary season of backstabbing and insurmountable problems conveying a message that would not alienate middle class voters doomed conservative America’s hopes. Will the media fuel public outrage and destroy a helpless GOP if they don’t concede their tax hike pledge during the government budget battle with our tax-hungry president? If so, we might as well hang it up right now and start shopping for a new conservative voice. The Republican Party has no future.
Perhaps diving head first over the cliff is the best we can hope for. Presidents tend to get the blame when things go bad. If the fallout spells the demise of the GOP, the aftermath could mean a new start for limited government conservative Americans who already have the Tea Party waiting on the sidelines. What we are doing now isn’t working, folks. How much is left for Republicans to fear?
Update, December 21, 2012: news from Washington is that John Boehner’s Plan B, the tax hike on million-plus incomes, has hit the skids with his own party. More fodder for the White House and another sign that the GOP needs a leadership fix and a decision whether it has the will to survive this political climate.
Friday: How more tax revenue digs a deeper hole.