James C. Capretta wrote in the National Review on Monday, The Budget Battles Ahead. He said that the Republicans are not going to do any negotiating with President Obama. Instead, they are just going to let the budget deficit get completely out of control and then blame it on Obama.
“Future generations of Americans will live less prosperously because of the massive debt and deficits of these years,” he says. “And President Obama will rightly shoulder most of the blame for this colossal failure of leadership.”
This is interesting in a few ways. First, it is wrong. The budget deficit is not going to be a problem for quite a while. What’s more, it is already going down. It will become a problem as the economy gets better, but that will happen as the government gets more tax revenue. So this is just more conservative hysteria over invisible bond vigilantes.
Second, this is just the newest iteration of McConnell’s plan to make Obama a one-term president. As I’ve written about a lot around here, Republicans don’t have any ideas about how they want to govern outside of savaging the social safety net and cutting taxes on the wealthy. Given they aren’t going to get either of those opportunities for the next four years, their plan is to make Obama look bad.
This is a stupid plan. People will not be voting on the budget deficit in 2016. People will not be voting on the budget deficit ever. They will be voting on what they always vote on: how the economy is doing in the period from August to November 2016. But the plan is also the height of immaturity. This is playground bullshit. This is what one of the great American political parties has been reduced to.
I’m reminded of an old saying, “You’re an all or nothing kind of guy, and since you can’t have it all, you get nothing.” I think the Republican Party should meditate on this. Being the petulant party is only going make the Tea Party crazies happy in the long term. And that’s only about a quarter of the electorate. That’s not good government, nor is it good politics.
H/T Jonathan Chait