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First things . . . Richard Falknor on 16 Mar 2011 10:31 am

GOP Lions Led By Donkeys? The Boehner Boys

“Few Republican voters, never mind the larger country class, have confidence that the party is on their side. Because, in the long run, the country class will not support a party as conflicted as today’s Republicans, those Republican politicians who really want to represent it will either reform the party in an unmistakable manner, or start a new one as Whigs like Abraham Lincoln started the Republican Party in the 1850s.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)– – Angelo Codevilla

The “long run” is coming up fast.  Otherwise, significant conservative voices would not now be asking whether the House GOP leadership really wants to get down in the arena and fight Obamacare?

Erick Erickson at RedState doesn’t think they do.

He explains his perspective in his “How House Republican Leaders Are Going to Betray House Republican Freshmen” – –

What comes up in April? The debt ceiling debacle. Merging the continuing resolution debate and the debt ceiling debate together would be the worst possible situation for conservatives. It would limit their negotiating position for substantive cuts when the clock is ticking toward what Democrats and Republican leaders are calling not just a shut down situation, but a default situation.

If a continuing resolution and debt ceiling debate were merged, moderates would be empowered to push for minimal cuts, no defunding of Obamacare, no defunding of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, no defunding of Planned Parenthood, etc. Republican leaders in the House and Democratic leaders in the Senate would be in the comfy position of being able to ignore conservatives in the name of a ‘good government compromise,’ which is Washington Speak for growing the size and scope of government while pretending not to.

It is crucial for conservatives to fight against the short term CR and force the Democrat and Republican Leaders to sit down now and start making real cuts. The cuts the Republicans are proposing are a drop in the bucket to real reform.”(Underscoring Forum’s.)

Read our Continuing Resolution: Obamacare? Planned Parenthood? to get Mark Steyn’s devastating analysis — “But the somnolent party leadership in Washington has basically just climbed back into the Bob Dole suits, and the whole idea is there’s no urgency, there’s no crisis.” – – and Michael Hammond’s tactical take – – “If Obama is willing to exercise his veto -– but House Republicans are not –- what does that tell you?”

Unfortunately conservatives did not prevail in yesterday’s House vote and the short-term Continuing Resolution (CR) passed. Both Maryland GOP members, Roscoe Bartlett and Andy Harris, voted against the short-term CR, but only one Virginia GOP member, Scott Rigell, did so among the bigger-government-inclined Republican Congressional delegation of the Old Dominion.

Said Mark Levin (click the foregoing link for his entire talk which his website summarized below) – –

“The American people have become subjects, not citizens. Mark goes through the roll call vote on the Boehner Continuing Resolution. Speaker Boehner has sold out conservatives – he went against what the American people wanted, and instead played politics.”

And hear Texas Representative Louie Gohmert explain how the House GOP leadership beguiles freshman members.

The short-term CR’s passage yesterday may also reflect a change in the policy complexion of the nominally GOP House. 

Yesterday David Rogers in Politico pointed out

Tuesday’s breakdown in Republican discipline weakens Speaker John Boehner’s hand in White House budget talks and raises the chances of a government shutdown next month unless he and President Barack Obama greatly step up their game.

Fifty-four Republicans broke ranks with Boehner, leaving him suddenly dependent on Democrats to win House approval of a must-pass three-week spending bill to keep the government operating past Friday. Tea-party-backed freshmen contributed to the embarrassment, but an equal force was a set of more veteran conservatives — some with their own political agenda but also more willing to risk an immediate fight with the White House.

‘I think we have to have a fight. I think this is the moment,’ Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) told POLITICO prior to the vote. ‘Things don’t change around here until they have to, and Republicans ought to draw a line in the sand.’

Leadership aides would argue later that Republican losses piled up more at the end once passage was assured. But the bottom line is the 85 Democratic ‘yea’ votes saved the speaker’s bill.(Underscoring Forum’s.)

Major conservative groups have been weighing in against another short-term CR opposing “any additional short-term continuing resolutions and announc[ing] their intent to key vote the next such measure.”

Last week, Heritage Action for America declared

“Twenty days ago, the House of Representatives passed a modest $61 billion in spending cuts, but these cuts pale in comparison to $474 billion in spending increases since 2008.  It also contained numerous policy riders, which would block implementation of things like Obamacare, EPA’s global warming regulation and federal funding for Planned Parenthood.

Enacting these cuts now and fighting for the policy riders are important trust building measures between the American people and Washington.  Now is the time for bold leadership, and Heritage Action, Family Research Council and Club for Growth stand united ready to support those efforts.” (Underscoring Forum’s.)

Yesterday, Heritage Action’s Russ Vought wrote about “. . . What Leadership Looks Like”

“As a quick update, here are the heroes with public statements against the short-term CR. Consider these the men and women who are leading the charge in the House and Senate. The list of no votes is much longer, as many prefer to keep their position private until they vote. But that shouldn’t stop us from recognizing a leaders’ row in the run-up to the vote:(Underscoring Forum’s.)

Tim Huelskamp (KS)
John Fleming (LA)
Michelle Bachmann (MN)
Steve King (IA)
Jeff Duncan (SC)
Jeff Flake (AZ), a member of the Appropriations Committee
Jim Jordan, the chairman of the RSC (OH)
Mike Pence, former chairman of the RSC and former Conference Chairman (IN)
Allen West (FL)
Andy Harris (MD)
Tom Graves (GA), a member of the Appropriations Committee
Dennis Ross (FL)
Jason Chaffetz (UT)

Marco Rubio (FL)
Jim DeMint (SC)
Mike Lee (UT)
Rand Paul (KY)
Orrin Hatch (UT)”

The House Republican Study Committee analysis of this short-term Continuing Resolution revealed – –

“Conservative Concerns with H.J.Res. 48”
No Defunding of Obamacare: Some conservatives have raised concerns that the legislation does not include any language blocking funding for Obamacare during the period covered by the continuing resolution extension.
No New Pro-Life Riders: The legislation does not include any of the pro-life riders from H.R.1, such as the prohibition on federal funding to Planned Parenthood, as well as prohibitions on DC abortion funding. However, pro-life riders in current law would be extended.
Harms Conservative Leverage Over Other Spending Fights: The strategy of liberals is to combine the debt limit fight and the FY 2011 CR into one larger effort, so that they can continue the current spending trajectory with as few concessions to conservatives as possible. H.J.Res.48, by not wrapping up the FY 2011 CR, may make that scenario more likely.
Does Not Wrap Up FY 2011: Some conservatives argue that funding the government in small chunks is harmful. This may be especially true in terms of the Department of Defense’s ability to plan.(Preceding underscoring Forum’s.)
Cost to Taxpayers: The legislation provides an extension of the current continuing resolution for three weeks, with a $6.1 billion net spending reduction in FY 2011.
Outside Organizations:
Key Voting Against: Club for Growth, Heritage Action for America, and Family Research Council Action. In addition, the National Taxpayer Union (NTU) opposes continuous stopgap measures—though it has not said it is key voting against (as of press time).”

Supportive: Americans for Tax Reform (ATR)”

Boehner’s Speakership: A Triumph of Hope Over Experience?

Was the confidence the new House GOP majority placed in John Boehner’s team a triumph of hope over experience? 

After all, the Speaker had helped engineer and vote for the No Child Left Behind legislation, had voted for the entitlement-ballooning Medicare Prescription Drug Act, as well as voting for the TARP legislation.  Last November we spelled out many of our reservations in our Boehner’s Men: A Circle Unburdened by Content?

In our view, the House GOP leadership – – by dismissing major conservative demands to complete the FY2011 CR now – – runs a much greater political risk than they would from any government “shutdown.”

As we wrote last November – –

“Many of the Tea Partiers and other grass-roots conservatives view the [November 2] results at the polls as giving America another chance to stop runaway government. They expect vastly more than the usual performance from Republicans in the newly elected Congress.  They are unlikely to wait patiently to see how it all plays out without making a major fuss if the House GOP leadership stumbles. The fortunes of John Boehner’s Team (or that of any other politician) are simply not at the top of their list of essential concerns.

Do the ‘Boehner Boys’ know that this is America’s crisis, or do they believe it is just another round of Congressional maneuvering in Washington, D. C.? The fact that conservatives must ask that question is telling in itself.”

Erick Erickson said it right this morning:

“Clearly, the House GOP strategy is failing. Saying the sky is falling, but then not doing anything about it really is not what any reasonable person could call a winning strategy. The public hates losers. Right now, House Republicans are looking like losers. House Republicans will look at this polling and decide they need to be even more accommodating of Democrats. They should look at this polling and realize it is time to lead. Their accommodationist, non-confrontational strategy is losing them the public that wanted them to cut spending.”

* * * * * * * * * * 

UPDATE! “The Importance of Saying Thank You.” RedState‘s chief urges: “Below [open previous link] are the 54 Republicans who voted no [yesterday on the short-term continuing resolution]. Call them at 202-224-3121 and make sure they know you appreciate their stand. Right now, they are only hearing a lot of yelling from their leadership. . . . But fifty-four House Republicans were willing to take a bullet from their leadership and stand up for their principles.”

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