We all watched in amazement and horror as the Democratic Party led its minions off the cliff and made them vote to jam through Obama’s health care law. We knew it was mass suicide, but we watched with incredulity as they bravely stepped up to drink the Kool-Aid. Now it is the turn of the Republicans freshmen — the very people who inherited the seats of those who walked the plank — to march off a cliff of their own.
The electorate that impelled the GOP triumph in 2010 will not tolerate a breaking of the Republican promise to cut $100 billion from the budget. They will accept, of course, the pro-rated share of the advertised total — $61 billion over seven months — but not anything less. It is a simple matter of keeping one’s campaign promises.
Any freshman who votes for a budget deal below $61 billion will face a primary and likely defeat either for the nomination of in the general election. That is just the fact of political life.
The Tea Party supporters and the aroused Republican electorate will not stand for it. The myopia which obscures Boehner’s and Cantor’s view of this reality is as blinding as that which made Pelosi, Obama, and Reid sacrifice their majority over health care.
If Boehner comes to a deal below $61 billion, he will face the massive defection of his own party. A fundamental split between Tea Party and establishment Republicans will have opened up and will not heal for the balance of the session. If Boehner needs to cross the aisle to borrow Democratic voters to pass the deal, he will become a coalition speaker — a coalition of donkeys and RINOs. The real Republican conservatives will be in the minority. But they will have with them the vast bulk of the GOP electorate, a re-alignment which will become painfully clear in 2012′s primaries.