Boehner and Cantor Must Go
Speaker John Boehner's "Plan B" (B as in "Big Bomb") is as dead as a Cowsills' 45 record. Vinyl doesn't wear well in the digital age, and Speaker Boehner's plan to raise taxes didn't woo GOP House caucus members or tea parties and grassroots conservatives across the republic. Boehner and his team were effectively trying to legislate against their party's conservative base and the outcome was thankfully predictable.
Speaker Boehner, Majority Leader Cantor, and Boehner's other lieutenants have made a fine botch of not only their negotiations with President Obama, but the PR war that rages for the hearts and minds of Americans (such is just a continuation of the ham-handed Romney campaign's poor communications and outreach strategies during the presidential election).
Boehner and Cantor were clearly knocked off their strides after Mr. Obama's unexpected victory (for many on the right) over Mitt Romney. They haven't seemed to recover since that Tuesday night in November. Like other establishment Republicans, Boehner and Cantor read too much into the president's narrow popular vote win. Moreover, both men are clearly overmatched in their duel with the president, who sticks to his principles like superglue.
Boehner, particularly, has seemed cowed and groping versus confident in making conservative principles the cornerstones of his negotiations with the president. Boehner has played the role all too often played by Washington-ized Republicans: the enabler and fixer of Democrats' excesses. The speaker has shown that he'd rather find ways to straighten out Washington's big government mess than use the mess to push for badly needed far-reaching reforms and downsizing of the federal leviathan. Boehner's had an opportunity to make history, and all he wants to do is sweep floors.
Uncle Sam's problem has been and continues to be wild spending, outrageous debt, and unfunded liabilities that promise to crush working Americans and the economy as the near-years unfold. The problem hasn't been and isn't too little tax revenue into Uncle Sam's coffers. That Boehner and his establishment GOP colleagues agreed to put taxes on the table ahead of any negotiations and resolution of spending cuts and entitlement reforms was a strategic error of the first magnitude. In so doing, the speaker ceded critical ground - in terms of good governance and politics - to the president. Thanks to the speaker's myopic, craven approach, the message went out loud and clear to Americans: "The president is right. Spending and debt aren't the big problems; tax revenue is the trouble. We Republicans agree to raise taxes."
And on more than Thurston Howell III and other millionaires.
As Janet Novack pointed out yesterday at Forbes:
But only 60% of the extra income tax revenue Plan B would raise, when compared to 2012′s tax scheme, comes from those earning more than $1 million, an analysis by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center shows. That' s because while Plan B makes permanent all of the 2001 and 2003 Bush tax cuts helping those earning less than $1 million, it gives the heave ho to the tax breaks created by Obama's 2009 stimulus. Those breaks were renewed for 2011 and 2012 as part of the December 2010 deal Obama cut with Republicans and would likely be extended again as part of any bipartisan deal.
Read Novack's Forbes' article for more detail, but the speaker's Plan B managed to increase taxes for not just the rich (as defined by the million-dollar threshold), but for many middle and upper middle income earners, too. So, the speaker's Plan B was a double-whammy: raising taxes (including capital gains) on high-earning investors and sticking it to less affluent earners, including those among the middle class. Talk about Boehner and the House GOP swapping basic conservative principle for the jobs of good stewards of Mr. Obama's big government.
In ordinary times, Speaker Boehner may have proven a competent leader. But faced with extraordinary circumstances, the speaker is a pipsqueak. The stakes are enormous for the nation, in terms of the economy and liberty. The speaker and his cohorts either fail to grasp the monumental nature of the times or they're simply ignoring it. The day, the challenges, and the problems demand more than what Boehner and his team are capable of giving.
Boehner should stand-down for reelection as speaker. Cantor should relinquish his majority leadership post. If not, House conservatives need to aggressively challenge Boehner and Cantor in caucus. True-blue conservatives who are global thinkers and first-rate strategists need to replace Boehner, Cantor, and the others in the House GOP leadership.
House conservatives shouldn't accept or settle for a shuffling out of one set of establishment Republicans for another. The stakes are critically high, and the time for unwavering principled leadership from House Republicans is urgent.