A "serious" proposal is one that has a reasonable expectation of resolving a conflict. Anyone studying Speaker Boehner's Plan B proposal knows it wasn't serious. Why are so many defending it and bemoaning its defeat?
It tells you an awful lot about the dishonest nature of politics in America today.
Republicans — fiscally conservative Republicans — have argued since forever that tax increases diminish economic growth. For the past two years, they have argued that increasing taxes on the "wealthy" would wreak havoc on our fragile (at best) economy. In fact, three studies have confirmed that this "millionaires tax," now endorsed by Plan B Boehner, would cost America 700,000 jobs, an unmitigated disaster.
The problem, as has endlessly been trumpeted by this camp, is spending, not taxes, with entitlement reform as the solution. Plan B does nothing of substance here.
A "meaningless" proposal is one that has no reasonable expectation of resolving a conflict. Plan B is that in spades.
So how do Republicans, so desperate to be a party to the resolution of our fiscal crisis, square the hole? They declare that a tax is not a tax, and a lack of spending restraint is spending restraint.
Boehner and Co. have been as politically incoherent as Team Obama has been skillful. The Democrats have co-opted one hallmark GOP issue after another. The final one was taxes. Incredibly, it's the party of McGovern, Carter, Kerry and Kennedy that is now the champion of fiscal responsibility: tax cuts for everyone except the greedy rich who need to pay their fair share.
The Left smells political blood. Boehner has given them the opening to tear the GOP in two. On the one side, there are the reasonable Boehner moderates who recognize the need to increase revenue; on the other are the troglodytes who refuse to leave failed Reaganomics behind.
Take the "PBS NewsHour" on Friday night. Liberal pundit Mark Shields was typically ranting away against anti-tax Reagan Republicans. "It's really become a problem for Republicans," he said. He said the post-1990 Republicans have never voted for a tax increase.
Shields was angry they wouldn't "give up their virginity," even to offer a head-fake to Obama. "They were going to give up their virginity, their political virginity, and risk a primary challenge — that is how they saw it — by doing this. What they failed to address is the reality that, when you are the — part of the governing party in any institution, the House, the Senate, anyplace else, you have a responsibility to make sure that you can govern."
Liberals always equate "reality" and "governing" and "responsibility" with tax-hiking. Shields didn't offer a sentence on how it's "governing" for the Senate Democrats to fail to offer a budget, year after year.
Instead, Shields insisted conservatives were destroying the GOP brand: "They robbed the Republicans of that — that sense of leadership, of governability, and robbed them, I think, and reduced the brand of the Republican Party even more."
Then PBS turned for agreement to its regular "conservative," David Brooks. But he was on vacation. So they turned to "conservative" Michael Gerson, the former Bush speechwriter. He also saw the vote against a Boehner as a crisis caused by Reaganite troglodytes. "Fair and balanced" PBS really knows what to do with its Republican tax dollars.
"We now have a president and a speaker who both wanted a deal, OK? By every account, they wanted a deal. They tried it twice. And they couldn't make it happen," Gerson argued. "It's a serious kind of governing challenge right now. If you look, we have got a short-term political crisis. We have a long-term fiscal crisis. And we're providing no confidence whatsoever that we can approach those things as a government in a mature way."
This is ridiculous. Both sides wanted a deal? Obama stated repeatedly and unequivocally that he'd veto it, and Reid said the Senate would never consider it. Obama wanted, and still wants a deal that surrenders even more turf to the Democrats.
Naturally, the same sham unfolded at NPR's horribly titled "All Things Considered" on Friday. The liberal "Week in Review" commentator, E.J. Dionne, treated the Tea Party as stupid people who don't understand compromise, and "this raised profound questions about whether the Republicans in the House are serious about governing because you have seen this over and over again."
Sitting in for "conservative" David Brooks on NPR was Matthew Continetti of the so-called Washington Free Beacon. He offered his "optimistic" take that conservatives would cave to Boehner as soon as the markets react badly, like they voted for the Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008.
"Both sides" on these networks are just waiting for conservatives to be dismissed. They've already proven they're interested only in another Obama victory, not compromise.
L. Brent Bozell III is the president of the Media Research Center. To find out more about Brent Bozell III, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.
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