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Friday, January 04, 2013

If The House GOP Has a Mandate, It's time to Show It

Remember all the talk from House Republicans on Tuesday during the "fiscal cliff" fiasco how they were going to insert spending cut amendments into the budget bill and return it back to the Senate? What happened? The GOP is supposed to be the party of spending cuts, remember? So let's have it. Where's the list?

But before we see that list, Congress must remove funded liabilities like Social Security and Medicare from any future spending cuts since they're both funded through dedicated payroll tax mechanisms.

Also, don't forget how Rep. Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney twisted Obama's $716 billion in Medicare cost savings into a "cuts" narrative during their campaign. They went so far as to claim they'd restore the $716B in revenue to save the program. Romney is gone, but we should at least keep Ryan to that promise knowing that he's for new revenue, not cuts, to those programs. Right?

Also, let's not forget that President Obama stuck his neck out when he asked for tax increases. That was his part of the bargain. Holy bejesus balooba! How many politicians can campaign on tax increases and win an election? Tax increases are listed at the top of the category "Don't Do" under Campaign 101 when running for public office. But Obama did and won.

Granted, this is a serious time in our history where people expect balanced solutions to our budget deficits and we won't likely see the revenue increases necessary to pay the bills in full. But there's plenty of negotiating room left to start closing dozens of corporate and high-end tax loopholes in trade for some unfunded liability spending cuts - if that was the objective. Republicans however are now implying that Obama's revenue raising drive is finished and he must now "lead" on spending cuts to bring down deficits. Thinking ways to raise revenue as being officially over is wishful thinking on their part, but also a bunch of baloney.

So now we have a republican majority in the House who insist they have a mandate. OK. But in order to believe they have a mandate, you'd have to believe first that the American people elect candidates to the House of Representatives as part of a collective conscious effort to create a House party majority. The truth is, we don't. There is no House majority choice or "mandate" listed on the ballot and I personally don't believe individual republicans or democrats are elected to Congress as part of a broader mandate strategy. But, but if House republicans think they have a mandate, who is anyone to argue otherwise? But what is it? Is it tax increases? Noooo, that was Obama's. Is it to take the country to war? I hope not. Was it to repeal Obamacare? Some were elected on that, but that's by mistake, not a mandate.

The undeniable fact is, Republicans have been campaigning on cutting spending for the past 20 years. If Republicans have any purpose to their miserable conniving existence today, if they think they have a mandate, it is the idea that some voters still believe they represent some fuzzy spending cut side to a balanced solution. If so, it's time to step up and show your mandate.

Unfortunately, when it most counted in the very last hour of their own fabricated fiscal cliff crisis, they refused to show us the spending cuts. They threatened us with them, but they didn't show. Instead, House republicans who voted with the Obama Senate deal said they did so because the alternative was much worse.

Let's look at that for a moment. That feared "alternative" of course was supported by nearly 2/3 of the House GOP majority when they voted "no" on the senate deal. Truth be known, that much worse alternative they spoke about WAS the House GOP's mandate since it was supported by the majority of the majority! Got that? But their so-called mandate was defeated in Congress!

If anything, this exercise proved that it's congress that carries the mandate, not a majority party, to serve as a branch of government. As ugly as the process seemed, I'd rather have what transpired than single-party rule anytime. Congress isn't dysfunctional because its divided. It's because we have fiscal frauds and rigid ideologues where there should be none.

Let's not forget however that two members of Congress from Wisconsin, Sen. Ron Johnson and Rep. Paul Ryan, continue to be among the most vocal about the government's so-called spending problem and use ideological calculations in their math. Both of them voted for Obama's better alternative, yet politicize the outcome as a failure of presidential leadership. Oh really. So, if anyone has an obligation to show us exactly what they mean by spending cuts and by the House GOP mandate, it's these two.

Gentlemen. Please proceed.

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