John Boehner: Conservative Hero?
Now that John Boehner and the GOP House leadership have proposed a temporary extension to the debt ceiling, the predictable outcry from the conservative base has largely been, in a word, angry.
Admittedly, as a proud member of the conservative base, even my own initial reaction may or may not have included a combination of four- and six-letter words that would be considered less than savory.
But then I thought about what it means to fight the good fight in Washington, D.C. After all, compromise and concession are dirty words only when applied to surrendering matters of principle. Compromising on tactics is far less damaging, especially if they end up producing the desired result.
What's the principle matter at heart of our government shutdown? There are many, but clearly the matter provoking all of this is ObamaCare. Does John Boehner's temporary debt ceiling increase plan compromise on ObamaCare? Not really -- the one-year suspension of the individual mandate, medical device tax, and chained CPI are all still on the table. Certainly a 6-week temporary spending hike doesn't negate all that.
ObamaCare has not been rubber-stamped, or given a free pass. But what Boehner has done here -- and it's as incredible as it was unexpected -- is that he has flipped the script on how Democrats attack Republicans.
One of the Democrats' chief attack lines against Republicans over the last 20 years is that the Republicans are the party of "no" -- the party that wants schoolkids to starve by not providing funds for student lunches, the party that doesn't want to do things to help poor people, and the party that would rather cut the purse strings of government than help the sun come out for the "little guy" in need.
And that attack line...has largely worked! So well, in fact, that it's echoed ad nauseam by dozens of liberals on a whole host of issues.
But what has happened now? Which party has been the one asking for negotiations? The Republicans. Who have been steadfastly, even proudly proclaiming that they will not negotiate? The Democrats, led by President Obama.
Which party has been passing spending bills, trying to fund vital functions of government so that the "little guy" isn't shut out? The Republicans. Which party has refused to vote on any spending bill -- except those that might make them look bad politically? The Democrats.
And now, after Boehner, et al. have made this overture to fund the government for 6 more weeks, who is showing real leadership and increasingly looking like the only responsible party in Washington?
Put all the talk of ObamaCare, abortion surcharges, and chained CPIs aside for a second. What Boehner has wittingly or unwittingly done here is turned the most liberal, free-spending president in American history, and his cohorts, into the Party of "no"!
Now, because Boehner has flipped the script, it's Democrats behaving as they always accused the Republicans of behaving. They're the ones refusing to negotiate and not compromising. They're the ones saying no to vital spending bills. Heck, they're even out there evicting octogenarians from their homes in the name of government shutdown.
This after decades of telling the American people that it was the Republicans who hated old people!
Democrats have revealed who they truly are: petty, petulant, mean-spirited, power-hungry, tax-and-spend bureaucrats who believe that no senior citizen's, military widow's, or war veteran's needs should stand in the way of their quest for power.
The American people had a dreamy, media-crafted vision of Obama prior to this that was largely furnished for him by his sycophants in the press. Benevolent, a uniter, above it all -- that image is now being shattered. People are seeing him for who he is. All you have to do is look at his paltry 37% approval rating to see the proof.
What this delay also does is give the American people a chance to interface with true incompetence. Let's be honest: if the American people had actually had a chance to tinker with and interface with ObamaCare prior to its passage, there's no way the bill ever would have become law. Boehner's delay gives the American public 6 more weeks to be face-to-face with the awful reality of essentially having the DMV run your health care.
By the time Obama and Boehner sit down in mid-/late November, there's a chance that public opinion of ObamaCare might be so low that Boehner won't have any trouble getting a one-year delay in the individual mandate. If not more!
I truly believe that Obama wanted this shutdown. But I don't believe for a second that he thought it was going to go like this. The media has been able to shield him from any blame or fault for nearly 5 years. But now that people can log on to a $634-million website and see his incompetence for themselves, concealing Obama as a miserable failure is too much to ask even for Rachel Maddow and Chris Matthews.
I'm not a "fan" of John Boehner. I've seen him as a weak vacillator for almost the entirety of Obama's reign. But there's a huge difference between compromising on principle and compromising on tactics, and I'm not even going to pretend to know how this all ends. But up until now, there's been no doubt who has outplayed whom.
Contact Fisher Adams on Twitter at @FisherAdams76.