This is a position far to the right of many of Obama's supporters. Progressives and centrist Democrats want no cuts to social services under any circumstances. A large majority of Democrats favor allowing the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2%, which added $1.7 trillion to the debt and is one of the major factors contributing to the current debt crisis, to expire. Obama offered neither. In fact, he explicitly put social service cuts on the table as part of his plan to reduce spending and said nothing about allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire.
So far has Obama bent over to the right to try to make a deal with recalcitrant Republicans that at one point Obama invoked St. Ronnie of Reagan...
“Would you rather reduce deficits and interest rates by raising revenue from those who are not now paying their fair share, or would you rather accept larger budget deficits, higher interest rates, and higher unemployment? And I think I know your answer.”Obama also cited Bush I to make the point crystal clear that today's Tea Party Republicans are far outside of the mainstream even of conservative thought. He pointed out that House Speaker John Boehner had tried to sell a balanced plan to the GOP caucus in the House, only to be rebuffed by Tea Party GOPers.
All in all it was an impressive demonstration of the use of the bully pulpit by a president confident that a majority of Americans are on his side, as every poll on the issue has shown. The president closed by asking Americans to contact their congressman and tell them a balanced plan is the fair way forward. Almost immediately websites and switchboards for congressmen and senators were flooded with hits and calls, crashing every house and senate server online and at one point jamming phone lines into the DC area.
A few minutes later House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, responded by not responding to anything the president actually said. Instead, Boehner offered up the tired old yarn of blaming Obama for the massive spending of BushCo, at one point trying to turn the rhetorical tables with the pretzel logic of saying it was Obama who couldn't say yes, then proceeded to use outright falsehoods to try to make a case.
Speaking in code to Tea Party supporters, Boehner began by slamming the TARP bailouts - initiated and signed into law by GW Bush, not Obama - as ineffective other than as fodder for late night comics. The fact of the matter is the Bush bailout, as unpalatable as it may have been to many, saved our economy from a disaster unprecedented since the last time a Republican destroyed our economy: Hoobert Heever and The Great Depression.
That was only the beginning of the mendacity from Boehner. He then went on to claim that the House had been united in bi-partisan support all along, and cited a bi-partisan vote on the Cut, Cap and Run Away bill as proof.
The truth of the matter is not only is "Cut, Cap and Balance" a flight of sheer delusional wingnut political fantasy - for example, its centerpiece is a Constitutional amendment Republicans know will never happen and in any event could have no possible impact on our current crisis - Boehner's claim of bi-partisan support is what is known in technical circles as a lie. A big, fat, greasy, stinking lie.
The vote in the House to pass "Cut, Crap and Run Away" garnered a total of 239 votes. 234 of those votes came from Republicans. Only 5 votes, about 2%, came from Democrats. 98% of the votes in favor came from Republicans. The GOP has 240 seats in the House. The Democrats have 192. The reality is 97.5% of Republicans voted for the bill while 97.5% of Democrats voted against.
Ahem. Perhaps "bi-partisan" has a different meaning in the GOP dictionary than it does in every other dictionary of the English language on the face of the planet.
I almost feel bad for John Boehner. Almost. I believe he really does want to solve this crisis, but with the Tea Party buffoons, led by hard charging back stabber Eric Cantor, have left him no rhetorical or political tools other than asinine loonytoonian platitudes and outright lies. While the tea bagging ideologues wallow in their certainty, the political realists twist in the wind.
In the final analysis Obama kicked GOP ass tonight. The polls, which have already been moving to his favor, are sure to continue to show that a vast majority of Americans support the idea of a balanced solution. It's a political tragedy that a tiny minority of idiots and fools, aka tea baggers, can hold the once great Grand Old Party, and the entire nation, hostage unless we all agree with them right damn now, or else.
Well, if they want to hold their breath until their states turn blue, I say let 'em. I'd prefer these fools come to their senses and take up their responsibility to the people of the United States. I'd also prefer an end to hunger, world peace and a pony for every little girl and boy. In the meantime, should worse come to worse, Obama can always invoke the Constitution these tea bagging idiots claim to love so much. You know, the one that says...
"The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law... shall not be questioned."
The Big Lie behind the tea bagger position is this has never been about spending. Raising the debt limit has nothing whatsoever to do with future spending. This is about whether or not we are going to pay back money we've borrowed and already spent.
Log on or call your congress critter and tell 'em you want a solution to the GOP created debt crisis right damn now. And tell 'em there's no doubt as to who the American people will blame, should tea baggers succeed in torpedoing our economy, our government and the trust and good faith of the world.