YAKIMA, Wash., December 23, 2012 – The Mayan day of reckoning has come and gone. Apparently, we have survived. The world is still here. The West Coast didn’t fall into the ocean, no comet crashed into the earth, and there were no devastating earthquakes. Nothing bad happened, well, except for John Boehner.
House Speaker Boehner has lost control of his party. Like most weak leaders, he talks a “big game” but gets nothing done. He gets in front of the American people and spouts off about how the President wouldn’t present a balanced approach on fiscal issues. Boehner claims his party will have to save the middle class because President Obama hasn’t offered a plan that is balanced. John Boehner has been abrasive to the situation and has not allowed the negotiations between him and the President to go forward.
The reality is the Speaker does not have the power to negotiate with anyone, let alone the President. He doesn’t have control of the Republican Party. Boehner has lost control. Why? Because there are enough Tea-Party Conservative Republicans to defeat anything this Speaker tries to accomplish. The shadow of Grover Norquist looms all over the House of Representatives, and Speaker Boehner can do little to nothing about it.
Mr. Speaker, the time has come for you to show some leadership, to do what’s best for the country, to return to negotiations with the President and hammer out a deal to avert the “Fiscal-Cliff.”
While a majority of voters believe a tax increase on the wealthy is acceptable, a few extreme right-wing Republican representatives cling to the mantra, “no new taxes.” Why, when confronted with the fiscal-cliff, do these extreme right-wing Republicans continue to vote against common sense and compromise?
The reason extreme right-wingers in the House will not move toward the center is because they fear Grover Norquist and his Americans for Tax Relief who have signed these right-wingers to the “Contract.” The Contract is a signed agreement for the constituents of each of their districts promising “no new taxes.” Grover and the Americans for Tax Relief enforce this contract by threatening to vote these representatives out of office at their next election if they break their pledge. And, so far, over the past few years, this man and his group have been able to do just that in several of the elections.
This threat must be on the mind of the House Speaker as he tries to find his way through this maze of political intrigue. Boehner is also mindful of the fact he must run for re-election next month to maintain his position as Speaker of the House, the third most powerful position in the country. Does he feel the breath of Eric Cantor on his neck? He should, because every indication is that Cantor wants to unseat Boehner.
This could be a tipping point for the Republican Party. If Eric Cantor is elected to the post, the Republicans would assuredly become crystallized even further to the right, but if a more moderate Republican prevails we could see more cooperation between the Democrats and the Republicans.
The decision about the Speaker of the House is set for January 3rd when the new Congress convenes. Right now, the Speaker needs to find a solution for the real time fiscal morass that he and the President are caught in together. The President has offered a balanced approach to the budget, one likely a majority of the House can accept. President Obama has even indicated there is wiggle-room for further compromise to close the deal if necessary.
Speaker Boehner, let’s get something done.
Mr. Speaker, your “Plan B” was a disaster. There was little support for the measure and you had to cancel the vote. It was reported in the New York Times that in a closed meeting of Republicans you could not muster enough votes for passage of the bill. Therefore, you declined to bring the measure to the floor of the House. Many Republicans, both Senators and Representatives alike, believe there is still room to come to terms with the Democrats and move our country forward. Your own party is trying to move you forward, Mr. Speaker.
Mr. Speaker, put down that Chick-fil-A sandwich, lick your wounds, then get busy. The world is still here and there is a solution to be had.
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