Whatever happened to the Republican opposition? President Obama hasn’t even taken the oath of office for the second time and already the GOP has caved on the fiscal cliff, the prospect of immigration reform, and Sandy relief. Oh, and their opposition to any and all forms of gun control is going to cost them at the ballot box. Maybe not in their gerrymandered districts, but on a national level. Newtown was a tipping point. Mark my words.
The negotiations over the debt ceiling and spending cuts will likely go the president’s way too. Why? Because more of the public wants a compromise that includes modest adjustments to entitlements rather than the slash and burn Greek/Spain approach that the “take your medicine” caucus led by Eric Cantor is proposing. Do not ever forget that the true purpose of the Republicans Party’s spending program is to overturn the New Deal and Great Society. They’ve hated those programs for almost 80 years now and for a long time they could taste the victory they believed was rightfully theirs.
But then came November 2012 and the revenge of the real math league that correctly forecast an Obama victory. That didn’t just anger the right; it led to conspiracy theories and a final take-no-prisoners approach to governing that the GOP thinks is a winning strategy. It isn’t.
So now they’re talking about forcing the president to accept drastic cuts in exchange for a debt ceiling rise. The only problem is that most Americans are on Obama’s pragmatic side because they understand that the Recession caused the deficit, not the other way around. Once we get ourselves out of the downturn, and we’re slowly doing just that, the deficit will narrow. People will be productively back at work. Tax revenues will rise. Consumers will begin spending again, if only cautiously. So the GOP’s strategy is doomed to fail. They’ve tried it before and our credit rating was cut. Now there’s evidence that it could be cut more. We’ve seen this movie. It doesn’t end well.
President Obama seems like a new man these days, issuing ultimatums and using the power of his office to effect change on gun control and, I’m assuming, on immigration. He’s said that he’s no longer going to negotiate on the debt ceiling and he’s exactly right. If push comes to shove, he should invoke the 14th Amendment and let the Congress and the Courts figure out if he’s right. He’s said he won’t do that. Too bad. The other option is to call Congress’s bluff and let them take the heat when the government shuts down. Ask Newt Gingrich how that worked out the last time.
Oh, wait. I don’t care what Newt says.
The boss has a new attitude. And things are about to change.