The question that hit my email inbox repeatedly yesterday was: “What do you think of the Boehner plan?” Truthfully, I’m not impressed.
In my humble opinion, it reflects an inability and unwillingness on the part of GOP leadership to dig in their heels and stand firm on principle. It reflects a refusal to go above and beyond in the PR department to let the American people know why it’s so important to fight the good fight for significant spending cuts. And it reflects an unsettling lack of understanding in D.C. of just how severe our fiscal problems are and what it’s going to take to get us back on track.
As The Washington Examiner reported yesterday, “House Speaker John Boehner’s plan to raise the debt limit will reduce deficits by just $1 billion in 2012 and $851 billion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. The news that the deficit savings are backloaded to occur in years that the current Congress has no control over is likely to increase doubts among House conservatives who were already skeptical about the plan.” Let’s hope the rewrite looks a little more appealing.
On Tuesday night, Mark Levin made some fantastic points on air with respect to the debt ceiling debate, taking on “superficial, petty politics”: “So what is it exactly that the Republican establishment wants us to rally behind? This is what people are sick of. This is what they will never understand inside the Beltway and around the Beltway. They’ll never get it in the media. They don’t understand. And we’re the extremists, we’re the irrational ones? No, we’re not. We’re the patriots. We’re the commonsense people. Now we know what Obama’s up to, but at a minimum, shouldn’t we put a bill on his desk … and make it clear to the American people that if we go to hell, it’s thanks to Obama, that we’ve done everything we can with one-party control in the House and 47 members of the Senate, we’ve done everything we can as conservatives to try and prevent this? … We should not sign a suicide pact. We should not agree to destroy this country and our children’s future.”
Levin offered some advice to conservatives: “You stand and you fight. That’s all you can do … The Republican establishment wants a resolution, and a resolution for the Republican establishment means agreement, sellout, anything, anything that’s better than Obama wants. That to them is an agreement, that’s success. That’s not how we measure success … How quickly Republicans surrender. How quickly they drop to their knees and beg for a deal. No, my friends, now is not the time to say we’ve won when we’ve not. Now is not the time to say we’ve gotten the best we can get when we haven’t. Now is not the time to say this is how Washington works when Washington is broken. Stick to your principles!”
In Heritage Action for America’s July 26 open letter to Congress, Michael Needham hit the nail on the head: “Congress should drive down federal spending on the way to a balanced budget, while protectingAmerica, and without raising taxes. Unfortunately, that does not appear to be what we will get from Washington, which has irresponsibly turned its back on the only real plans out there: The House Budget and the Cut, Cap and Balance Act. As such, Washington should be forced to live under the current debt limit until it’s ready to make tough choices — choices that it should make, and has time to make, this week.”
Like many Americans, I am hungry for bold, principled, unapologetic conservative leadership. Rather than settling for what they think they can get through, I’d like to see GOP leadership fighting for what they know they should get through, for what they know would help restore this country. There’s no time for complacency, defeatist attitudes or taking the easy way out. John Boehner doesn’t have an easy job, but he must begin to play hard and fight to win. The country can’t afford anything less.
Jedediah Bila is a conservative columnist, television commentator and author of the new book Outnumbered: Chronicles of a Manhattan Conservative. For more information on Jedediah, please visit jedediahbila.com. Follow Jedediah on Twitter.