“God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.” That is what House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, told his fellow Republicans last night. And apparently one of the things that Boehner now knows he cannot change is the willingness of some conservatives in his caucus to compromise on anything.
At 7:45 pm last night, Boehner informed his Republican colleagues that he did not have the votes necessary to pass his Plan B solution to the fiscal cliff crisis. “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass,” the official Boehner statement read.
What happens now is anyone’s guess. Boehner said last night, and will reportedly say again at a 10:00 am press conference this morning, that it is up to President Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., to pass their own fiscal cliff solution. The Boehner-Obama negotiations appear to be over. There will be no grand bargain.
The more likely scenarios are that we either go over the fiscal cliff, or Boehner agrees to vote on a Senate bill which extends the current tax rates for everyone making under $250,000. Either way, by choosing to abandon their leader in the middle of high stakes negotiations, House conservatives have assured that whatever final deal does get done, whether its before or after January 1st, it will have to be passed with a majority of Democratic votes. By refusing to compromise at all, House conservatives have completely marginalized themselves, making them effectively irrelevant, not just for the fiscal cliff negotiations, but for at least the next two years as well.
In 1983, President Ronald Reagan was asked by a conservative constituent from New Hampshire, “We’ve been reading in the Union Leader in recent weeks and hearing from our senior Senator Gordon Humphrey, that they feel that you’re moving away from the policies and principles that got you elected. How would you react to those statements by them?”
Reagan replied, “I’m not retreating an inch from where I was. But I also recognize this: There are some people who would have you so stand on principle that if you don’t get all that you’ve asked for from the legislature, why, you jump off the cliff with the flag flying. I have always figured that a half a loaf is better than none, and I know that in the democratic process you’re not going to always get everything you want.”
Today’s House conservatives, and the organizations that pressure them, have completely abandoned the wisdom of Reagan. As a result the conservative movement is now weaker.
From The Washington Examiner
Examiner Editorial: GM is alive and taxpayers got ripped off
Philip Klein: How Boehner could cut a deal and still keep his speakership
Mark Tapscott: What ever happened to the art of honorable compromise?
Joel Gehrke: Reid trying to buy Republican votes for fat Sandy relief package
Byron York: Obama uses Clinton’s playbook to exploit shooting
Mark Tapscott: Cato Institute’s Jim Harper is on a quest as a digital Diogenes
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Jonathan Bernstein advises liberals “to enjoy the Republicans’ debacle, but don’t read too much into it.”
AFL-CIO advises Obama to rescind his latest fiscal cliff offer to Boehner.
Think Progress celebrates declining Olive Garden profits.