A Budget Deal: Republican Suicide

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If senior Republicans back a deal of less than $61 billion, they need to pay heed to the fates of Utah Senator Bennett, Delaware Congressman Mike Castle, and Florida Governor Chris Christie. And they need to note as well the legion of senior Democrats from seemingly invulnerable districts who lost their seats in 2010. That may well be their fate.

And why are Boehner and Cantor marching off the cliff? The Republican Party will win a government shutdown. It will be the defining event of the 2011-2012 cycle. Faced with a choice between more spending and less spending, the American people will back less spending. The lessons of 1995-1996 do not apply. Clinton won that shutdown (in which I was instrumental) because the fight was about Medicare. Had the battle been merely quantitative — as this fight would be — the Republicans would easily have prevailed.

When John Boehner and Eric Cantor sit down to decide whether to take a deal or not, here are the stakes:

If they take a deal below $61 billion, they will split their party, alienated their supporters, trigger a mass of primary fights, lose their ability to strike deals over the debt limit or the 2012 budget, and terminate the revolution of 2010. And Obama will be re-elected.

If they reject such a deal and shut down the government, they will galvanize their supporters, paint Obama into a liberal corner, force the Democrats to accede to their budget cuts, and win the fights over the debt limit, Obamacare repeal, EPA, NLRB, and the 2012 budget because the Democrats will be too petrified to weather another shut down. And Obama will be defeated.

Those are the stakes for the leaders.

For the members, the decision as to whether to follow their leaders off a cliff is simple: Do you value your seat in Congress you worked so hard to win?

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  • Jim

    If the Funded RNC and Democrats wish to continue doing business as usual and out wit the new Republicans into a compromise then large groups of both parties may finally consider forming a third party based on democracy. . Blacks and Hispanics are getting disillusioned by Obama. If a democracy third party arose the dispossessed may think it through and realize only a clean slate can correct the corruption of the old guard .
    Only a clean slate can restore democracy and thus restore equality of opportunity .
    Only fear of the unknown keeps people from breaking away from power and wealth control of Congress. The dispossessed must conceive of the party before they can make one. They must dream it first ;then they must plan;then they must organize.

    • jim

      And that party would, one hopes, realize that the growing income disparity between the rich and everyone else is leading the U.S. towards a third world existence. The path this country is on, one that sees a a diminishing middle class, will result in more homelessness, less healthcare resources for the elderly and low income folks, and general suffering. I believe that good people believe that the Tea Party philosophy protects individual rights. But to leave the social policy of this nation to the self interest of free market economics will benefit the few and hurt the majority.

      Unfortunately, the people are going to have to experience a lot more depravation before they stop buying the personal liberty lines the Republicans espouse before they realize they are getting screwed.

    • John

      your out of touch. I am an independent who is now suffering because of recent Republican actions. I find that I can no longer support candidates from a party that lies behind false data and a party that brings fanatical religious beliefs into politics. We should be creating jobs and get out of the business of being the whole world's policeman. Cut the military budget, not social. Do we need another aircraftcarrier? Because of budget cuts, I now teach elective classes of 44 middleschool students. Another 4000 teachers in LA alone have just lost their job. This fall all grade levels will have 35 plus students. My classroom hasn't been cleaned in months because the district laid off most of the janitors.

  • Flickering bunny

    People don't care about anything besides job creation.

  • From NJ

    Florida governor Chris Christie? For this Mr. Morris is paid the big bucks?

  • mac

    We the voters of the US must come to understand that the pols who promote the "rich" vs the "poor" stories are not our friends.
    Poor or rich, whatever that may be, as I suppose anyone with a $ more than me is rich. The politicians and their salesmen only want to promote envy.

  • mac

    We the voters of the US must also come to understand that outlandish promises made by candidates are not possible. Change you can believe in, close Guantanamo, get rid of obama care, stop all abortions, tax the rich more all these things may sound good if you turn off all thought but rational folks should know they are not going to happen.
    These pols use the same systems that con men use.

  • Eric


    Just to let you know, it looks like you mistakenly wrote “Florida governor Chris Christie” instead of Charlie Crist.

  • Eric

    Start a third party!!!

    • WildJew

      Better to punish the recalcitrant Republicans – who followed Boehner's lead – at the polls like Dick Morris suggests.

    • davarino

      I agree. I was hoping the repubs were going to change and become the conservatives they are supposed to be, but I have had it. They are a bunch of wimps with no spine. All they could fight for was 31Billion? They couldnt stick to the 100? 100 billion is still chump change, but that is what they said they would do. We are drowning in a sea of debt and this is all they could do? To hell with all of them. I dont care if the dems win again in 2012, I aint giving them another chance. Good luck numbnuts.

  • Gerald Berry

    To heck with Boehner and the old guard AND anyone else that votes for this sellout. Why did the Republicans propose defunding Planned Parenthood if they did not have the balls to stand by their guns. I can't wait for the vote to see where each member of the house and senate stand.

  • 11Hotel

    I agree with Morris; and Boner blew it! I disagree with the we can not cut money from social welfare programs crowd-that is pure nonsense. Talk to anyone who has been a recipient of said handouts. Drop the entire admin costs (and 50% of the personel) to the states with block grants, and wish them good luck!
    It is not like every recipient is eating cat food kids; most recipients live quite well, even rich compared to many around the globe that are truly poor.

    I would not rule out a third party, or at least a good old Rep vs. Tea battle for the next 6-10 months. Also, any shut down damage would be gone by election day, which is light years away at this point.

  • 77patriot

    We need to get these RINOs out! This is yet another example of Bernard Goldbergs' complaint that there are "Crazies to the left of me, wimps to the right." At least the crazy lefties acted with boldness(with some lying, cheating and arm-twisting thrown in, of course) to get Obamacare passed. It's time we got some real men to lead!