Tea-Party joins left-wing in killing Boehner’s pet project; Obama befuddles base

Posted on February 18, 2011


It is Winter in Hell

It is only fitting in the midst of a winter during which Nashville has seen over 20 inches of snowfall that we see a liberal (I think?) Democratic president criticize the GOP for proposing cuts to defense spending.  It is quite ironic for me personally, as it was just yesterday that I poked fun at the Republicans for proposing to cut federal funding for community health centers in light of their long history as staunch opponents of any cuts whatsoever to the $700 billion annual defense budget.  I admit I have often looked upon Democrats as the party that gives the little guy (the poor, the blue-collar, the minority) a voice and Republicans as the party through which the big guy (the rich, the oil tycoon, the military contractor) speaks.

But today this metaphor has been turned on its ear.  First, it was the forty-some-odd freshman, tea-party-backed, Republican house members who voted with the most liberal of Democrats to slash $450 million of defense spending (some F-35 pork-barrel nonsense that even Robert Gates says is a waste) in the Mr. Mandate-From-Heaven Speaker of the House John Boehner’s own district!  Then this:

Obama the Hawk

That’s right, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Barack Obama, said that the GOP’s proposals for immediate spending cuts, which include cuts to defense, would undermine the pentagon’s abilities to keep our country safe.  Meanwhile, his newly proposed 2011 budget includes cuts to subsidies for heating assistance to poor families.  I am beginning to think Obama has engaged in an experiment to test how far his base can be pushed before they give up on him altogether.

In the meantime, representative Paul Ryan, Republican from Wisconsin, announced on Morning Joe this morning that he believes reforming entitlement spending is imperative if Congress is truly serious about cutting federal spending. He says that it would be best to deal with these programs now on our own terms instead of waiting to be forced to deal with them in painful terms in the midst of a future fiscal crisis.  Then Democrat Chris Van Hollen came on and dodged the entitlement questions altogether (in a very Tea-Party-esque fashion)  while trying to defend Obama’s call to poverty-stricken America to man-up and stop wasting taxpayer money on wasteful things like keeping their families warm during the winter.

The American people are starting to come around to reality and the politicians who don’t catch up to the curve will be left in the dust.  In my opinion, Paul Ryan is right about one thing: people like the truth.  Although cutting entitlement spending would seem to be politically unpopular, I personally feel that those who start talking about it first will have the lead in the inevitable reform efforts.  Obama has allowed the Republicans to go first, likely because he believes such a discussion will sink them politically for 2012.  I personally believe the GOP will come out the winners for being the early birds here, but who am I to question the political intuition of Obama?

Posted in: Budget Battle