Obama used a raw, naked political power fight to break the GOP

Obama treated the budget showdown as a fight straight out of 'Rocky IV.' Winning wasn't enough. The goal was to break the opponent. Photo: White House photo

WASHINGTON, October 17, 2013 — Raw, naked power politics.

Ugly and brutal while pretending to be noble and principled.


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That’s what the past two weeks have exposed in Washington.

President Barack Obama still tries to play the role of a good guy, but the public is unconvinced. So what, since he doesn’t need their votes? He shouldn’t expect any Oscars although he followed a fight script.

Moviegoers will remember this classic scene from “Rocky IV.” It is like nuclear war in the boxing ring: America vs. the Soviet Union. The towering Soviet giant Drago sneers to Rocky as they’re introduced, “I must break you.” That is how President Obama approached this October showdown with Republicans.

Under the Hague Convention, it is a war crime to say that no quarter will be given to the other side. But the Hague Convention does not apply to American politics so Obama will claim he can still keep his Nobel Peace Prize.


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He refused to negotiate; he demanded complete surrender and he got it. Except for those Republicans who have joined the Rebel Alliance, the GOP capitulation is complete. Not only did they gain nothing in 2013, but they’re also giving back budget concessions they won in 2011.

Sequester savings seem to be evaporating, a total breach by all sides of the promises given to the country in 2011 to justify raising the debt ceiling by $2.1-trillion. Every penny of that $2.1-trillion has been borrowed and spent but only a tiny fraction of the promised “savings” has materialized. Most of that sequester savings was not to happen until years from now anyway, but even that pretense may disappear. In any event, it wasn’t true budget cuts; it was merely slowing down the rate of growth of spending.

Reports indicate another gimmick will be applied to make future increases in the debt ceiling virtually automatic. Congress would continue to vote on these—but rather than voting to approve more borrowing they would be voting to prevent more borrowing. And if a President vetoed that prohibition measure, it would take 2/3rds of Congress to override it and prevent the additional borrowing.

This procedure would make increasing our national debt as simple as reading a teleprompter.


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This kills off the last safeguard against runaway spending. Obama and his big spenders have broken free from those who want to hold tight on the bottom line. The spenders can run roughshod over all who felt obligated to keep quaint commitments such as that 2011 budget deal. But in this new 2013 free-for-all there’s not even a pretense of being thrifty. It must be noted that the free-spenders were aided by some Republicans who have no stomach for the fight; they are relieved to get debt limit increases put on automatic pilot.

This is an instance where Washington followed the adage of how to handle a crisis: Do something; even if it’s wrong.

The American people told pollsters what they thought of it all, even before the public drama ended with backroom dealing. A majority flat-out told pollsters that President Obama is not honest, is not reasonable, is not inspiring, is not strong and is not decisive.

He also is not up for re-election, meaning that he enjoys a certain immunity from public opinion.

Nevertheless Obama came off better than others. A majority also told pollsters the Democrat Party does even worse than Obama on those qualities. And that Republicans do even worse than Democrats.

Whereas one poll shows Obama’s approval down to 37%, the approval of Congress is down to 5%. That’s why panic set in, plus the fact that the media totally swallowed Obama’s claim that avoiding default was his goal, and that making debt payments required borrowing more money. Reporters ignored the fact that tax revenue is seven times higher than what it takes to make payments on our debt.

By winning such a total victory, the President and Democrats now must accept responsibility, especially for the disaster of Obamacare. It’s going to be hard to blame that on George W. Bush.

The White House-Left Wing Media Coalition can suppress Benghazi and IRS and Fast and Furious scandals. That’s run-of-the-mill political cover-up stuff. But can even this media overlook the millions of Americans being stunned by the out-of-pocket costs (premiums+deductibles+co-pays) and the workplace losses caused by Obamacare?

Obama wanted to break his political opponents. Crushing them in 2014 can give him uncontested power for a no-holds-barred agenda in his final two years. But he’s breaking more than the GOP; he’s also breaking our economy. When you break it, you own it and you must pay for it.

We’re about to see the American economy staggering as it takes more and more blows from the Obama agenda, just like Rocky Balboa staggered around the ring as Drago clobbered him viciously.

The Italian Stallion always absorbed incredible amounts of punishment. So far our economy has, too.

But this is reality, not a Rocky movie; you cannot expect the good guys to win. Rocky only had to absorb physical blows. He wasn’t accused of terrorism, arson, hostage-taking and the like. He got to keep his reputation even though his body was pummeled.

Today, just because Obama has won a political fight in a very ugly way doesn’t mean there won’t be re-matches. Re-matches are why there were so many Rocky movies. And it’s how he won his title.

 


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Ernest Istook

Ernest Istook spent 25 years in public office, including 14 years in Congress. He was rated one of the top 25 conservatives in the U.S. House of Representatives. Then was a Heritage Foundation fellow and a fellow at Harvard's Insitute of Politics, where he led a study group on Propaganda in American Politics Today. 

Now as a radio host and a commentator, Ernest aims to expose Washington's gimmicks--to help you avoid the pitfalls. He brings clarity out of the confusion. 

Native to Texas, Ernest transplanted to Oklahoma after graduating from Baylor University.

Contact Ernest Istook

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