Come Again?

"We will never get a balanced budget amendment unless we take advantage of this chokepoint ... I'm going to stand strong on this. I'm going to vote no."

- Representative Phil Gingrey

You're not going to get a balanced budget amendment while Democrats control the Senate and the White House.  Standing around being obstinate is only going to make a less palatable bill become law.  Note to Republicans:  Democrats still exist in Congress and they can vote.  This is an important detail that seems to have escaped the Bachmann wing of the party. 

All the Senate Democrats just announced they will not supprot Boehner's plan in the Senate.  President Obama is waving his veto pen around like Tommy Lee waving around a bag of coke at a back stage post party.  So what's the problem?  If Republicans back this bill, they gain important momentum for their side and they avoid setting the party up to fail.  They show unity and maintain ground on the negotiations that still must happen - unless Democrats are bluffing.  If they are bluffing, this is the best bill Republicans are going to get anyway because you know, Democrats can vote.

Rand Paul - who doesn't even have a vote on the Boehner plan unless it comes to the Senate - elaboratd on Fox last night.  He said he'd be happy to go back to his constituents in Kentucky and let them know he did not vote to raise spending by 7 trillion dollars.  Let me translate that:  Rand Paul only cares about getting re-elected.  He couldn't give a damn about the party or more significantly, the country.  Rand Paul is no good to anyone in a Senate filled with 70 plus Democrats.

How else should we read his vocal and public obstinance to a bill he might not even have to vote on?  Even if he does vote, that vote will likely be irrelevant in the Democrat run Senate.  John Boehner is working hard to get a compromise through and prevent allowing the debt ceiling deadline to pass.  Economists have predicted all kinds of scary scenarios if this happens but nobody can say for sure.  Whatever happens economically, the alternatives to the Boehner plan are ugly. 

One scenario is that the deadline passes without any action from Congress.  There may or may not be some level of economic catastrophe though there will undoubtedly be uncertainty and discomfort in the economy.  If you care about the country, this should concern you more than your long term vision of government.  Furthermore, if the deadline does pass without action there is no doubt President Obama will delay payments to as many of the most popular government funding recipients he can get away with:  old people, poor people, children and soldiers.  He will withold these payments whether he needs to or not and blame Republicans until they concede to a much worse bill than they're getting with the Boehner plan. 

A second scenario is that Boehner cuts bait with the Republicans and finds votes for a compromise with the Democrats in the House and Senate.  That will also produce a much worse bill than the Boehner plan.  A compromise from the Boehner bill is probably going to happen anyway but passing this bill through the House puts the Republicans in a much stronger negotiating position, in a much stronger political position and it puts the country in a much better economic position.  It may tick off a few right wing nut jobs wearing spaghetti strainers on their heads in Kentucky who donate to Rand Paul's election fund but being a leader is about doing the right thing even when it's not one hundred percent in line with your principles.

This is the fallacy that some on the far right don't seem to get.  I'm right in line with Rand Paul on most of his ideology.  I want smaller governent, less taxes and more freedom.  I'd easily prefer Cut Cap and Balance to the Boehner Bill and Paul Ryan's plan above all of them.  Unfortunately, that's not realistic.  The point of the American system of government is to make it impossible for one party to get everything they want.  Contrary to the convetional view, the Constitution was not handed down on high from a bunch of guys in wigs.  It was fought for tooth and nail and nobody in the founding generation got everything they wanted - but they knew when to agree to what they could get.  Why can't Rand Paul, Phil Gingrey and the rest do the same?  Figuring this out is what separates statesemen from the rabble.