Thursday, February 7, 2013

GOP Wobbly on Sequester

Look out below! The House GOP is going wobbly on the "sequester."  That's the modest $1 trillion spending cut agreed to by the president and Congress back in the debt-ceiling deal of August 2011.

You'll remember that the president wants to replace the spending cuts with a "balanced package" of spending cuts and tax increases.  Now that the cuts are looming ahead like linebackers, GOPers representing districts with defense workers want to punt.
The problem for Boehner is that while his members generally support his position, they are unhappy about having to explain these cuts back home. Privately, GOP members say, they never thought that Congress would actually implement these specific cuts.
“We all voted for this, but we thought at the time that both parties wouldn’t want to see this happen, so it’d make us work together,” says a House Republican close to the leadership. “Both parties still don’t want to do this, but it looks like we may be forced to, if the president keeps insisting on new taxes.”
It just shows the basic problem with modern government.  It's easy to talk about small, limited government, but nobody got pitched out of Congress for bringing home the bacon.

Here is Michael Barone praising  House Majority Leader Eric Cantor for his "outside" game, appealing to voters with poster boys and girls.
He spoke not of educational block grants, but of having federal education "follow children" to schools their parents choose.
In a move reminiscent of presidents' State of the Union messages since 1982, he brought along Joseph Kelley, who sent his son, Rashawn, and his three daughters to private schools with money from a District of Columbia voucher program the Obama administration has tried to shut down.
He criticized the Obamacare tax on medical devices by bringing a Baltimore nurse who worked to develop replacement discs for patients with back pain and then needed one herself. She was wearing her cervical collar.
He brought 12-year-old Katie, from Richmond, who has been treated for cancer almost all her life, to illustrate Republican support for funding basic medical research.
See what he is doing?  He is making the case for spending: on block grants, on medical research, you name it.  More goodies, more practical help for people.  And you know what he is trying to do.  He is trying to appeal to women.

Sorry.  But to me, Cantor is playing on the Democrats' turf.  Maybe that's all we Republicans and conservatives can hope to do.  Maybe that's the only way we will ever be able to appeal to women: dangling goodies in their faces for them and their loved ones.

But here is my problem.  If conservatism means anything it is that the health of the nation and society depends on people cooperating and helping each other outside the context of big government handing out goodies.  It means children with a married mother and married father.  It means people clubbing together to make education work.  It means a whole civil society of people working together to help each other.  It emphatically does not mean politicians bribing people for their votes, reducing human society to a scramble for entitlement loot.

Maybe there is nothing that conservative politicians can do, absent a moral revolution that declares the bidding for government loot to be as evil as bidding for human flesh at a slave auction.  After all, plenty of people made lots of money out of slaves for thousands of years without bothering themselves too much about the morality of it.

Nothing will really change until women mount a moral revolution that declares government goodies as stuff that hurts mothers and makes babies grow up into monsters.

So let the spending roll on!

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