David Limbaugh on Republican Fear of a Government Shutdown
March 15, 2011BEGIN TRANSCRIPTRUSH:
My brother David, column: "GOP Fear That History Will Repeat Helps Ensure It Will." He starts out with a good question: "Why is it that despite the Republicans' resounding electoral victory in 2010 based on their promises for real change, many of us have a queasy feeling they're not quite measuring up to the task, even in the climate of Democratic infighting and President Obama's weaknesses? The Hill reports that there is developing dissension between Obama and Senate Democrats, whose respective 'political fortunes ... are moving in opposite directions, complicating their efforts to win a titanic battle against Republicans over federal spending.'" That's a quote from The Hill.
"Obama is trying to stay above the fray and letting Democratic legislators twist in the wind of conflict with GOP congressmen over a possible government shutdown. [Obama's] plan is" and this is right on the money, by the way, "to ride in just in time to take credit for the ultimate resolution and be seen as 'a bipartisan problem solver,'" but he's not gonna be involved in it. Whatever happens, happens, and he's gonna take the credit for it as having been the guiding influence and force. While he, seriously, is out videotaping his NCAA basketball picks. You know, we have really terrific golf weather headed toward the nation's capital. It's going to be sixties and seventies Wednesday through Saturday. I looked.
Now, the president has the rest of the week planned out. Why not go play golf every day? There's nothing to be done in Libya. The president's already said what's happening there is "unacceptable," and that's that. What this president does is say stuff. When he says stuff, that's it. He's already said, "We need to live within our means." Okay, that problem solved. He's already said he feels terrible about events in Japan. That's about as much as any human being could do. He's already said schools and bullies don't mix. He sent his wife out there to pound home that message. That's done. He called for gender equality in the home and in the workplace.
Okay, that problem's been solved. And he said that oil production in the Gulf is booming because of him. His moratorium has led to increased production. He got that done. What else is there to do but go play golf? Well, he has said he "won't rest until there be jobs for all Americans who seek work," but apparently every American who wants a job has one, otherwise Obama would be "focusing like a laser." So that problem's been solved. So after this arduous task of picking the brackets for the NCAA tournament and then videotaping the presentation for ESPN, what is there left to do? The guy's overworked as it is. He hasn't had a vacation in couple months!
Why not just go play golf every day? He's commented on everything; he has press conferences here and there. The only problem is that when he talks, nobody listens. Beyond that, leaders don't comment, they take action. But he's not taking any action. He's sitting around, biding his time. In his case "taking action" means "playing golf." So that's... (interruption) Well, you know what? All right, all right, all right. You have a point. I stand corrected. He has been out fundraising. You're right. That's hard work, too. I'll stand chagrined. Thanks for correcting me on that.
So my brother's right here: He's trying to stay above the fray. He's let the Democrats and the Congress twist in the wind over this possible government shutdown -- and whatever happens, he's going to run in there and take credit. Oh, I forgot! The president is going to Rio de Janeiro for the weekend. He is. Mardi Gras was last week. He's going to Rio this week. He's going there this weekend. I don't know. He might have seen that picture of Gisele Bundchen looking dreamily at Tom Brady and figured, "Man, if that's the talent down there, look at all I could eat!" Who knows? He's going to Rio. "Meanwhile, many Senate Democrats believed to be vulnerable in 2012 defected from their party's proposal to cut spending.
"But hardly any Democrats, including the defectors, can be regarded as serious in their approach to the debt crisis now plaguing this country. Yet..." and here's the point that my brother makes: Yet are congressional Republicans capitalizing on this Democratic disunity and incompetence?" Are they capitalizing on the president having checked out? "To be sure, there are positive signs, such as the diligent efforts of Rep. Paul Ryan to help craft a comprehensive plan to severely reduce discretionary spending and substantively tackle entitlement reform. And Ryan isn't alone. Other conservative representatives and senators are standing strong.
"But when we shift our gaze to the Republican leadership in the Senate and House and even to some of the House freshmen for whom we've had high expectations, we see cause for concern. The first real confrontation with Obama, whose party had been trounced the month before, came in December and resulted in a compromise" that I think I think casual observers think the Democrats won, even though the tax cuts were extended Democrats lost their shirts and they still set the premise for the lake duck session. "Next came the House GOP's disappointing failure to make much headway in defunding Obamacare, which it blamed on insurmountable legislative rules."
This rule meaning: Well, there's a continuing resolution; you can't do any legislation in there; you can only attack discretionary spending. That $105 billion is not discretionary spending. So we can't attack that, so we need to be doing a budget to do that and Reid doesn't want to do a budget so we're kind of handcuffed. So they're hiding behind the fact that: Well, we got the rules, can't break the rules. Then Republicans scrambled like scared rabbits to avert a government shutdown and acceded to a continuing resolution until March 4 -- and then through March 18 [tomorrow] -- which contained cuts but also allowed Democrats to kick the ball down the road another month or so.
"Vice President [Bite Me], who was to be instrumental in negotiating with Republicans, used the extension as an opportunity to take off on an international trip, apparently without even a superficial nod toward resolving the issues. Through all of this, we get the idea that it is Democrats, not Republicans, who have the upper hand in these negotiations," and they lost! They lost, and it's got everybody puzzled here. What was November about? Where are the Scott Walkers of Washington? Where are they? "House Republicans did pass a bill containing $61 billion in spending cuts, but most conservatives and tea party activists believe it wasn't enough.
"The Virginia tea partyers are particularly displeased with House Majority Leader Eric Cantor," I had a story about this yesterday, "who opposed an amendment for even deeper cuts (5.5 percent across the board for non-security discretionary spending). Now we're coming up on another deadline, and congressional Republicans are presenting yet another continuing resolution, which contains $6 billion in spending cuts but doesn't... include so-called 'policy riders' that would address important issues, such as defunding Obamacare and Planned Parenthood," and that's why Marco Rubio is speaking out.
What am I here for? I didn't care here to be part of in piecemeal stuff, $6 billion here and $6 billion there. That's not why we're here. We're looking at $14 trillion national debt, and we're $6 billion in a continuing resolution. The irony here is that it's this fear of a government shutdown, apparently, that's got the Republican leadership paralyzed, and they might " be ensuring that history repeats itself precisely because they are behaving as if they fear that history will repeat itself." They think a government shutdown will cream 'em like it did in 1995, but it didn't cream 'em! They won reelection in 1996. They got welfare reform.
But they lost "the headline battle." They lost the news media battle. The budget shutdown of 1995 was portrayed as a huge PR triumph for Clinton over Newt Gingrich, pinning the government shutdown on congressional Republicans who "don't care about people," and they don't want that said about 'em again. And they're afraid anything they do that cause a government shutdown to be the same old same old: They don't care about people. They're content to let the little people starve or not get their turkeys at Thanksgiving or whatever it is, and I think this is a total miscalculation of the public mood.
This isn't the nineties.
We have a nation-threatening debt crisis.
And the Republican opponent is a weak president who's doing more to exacerbate our problems than he is to solve 'em. What my brother is saying a here that we've never had a greater opportunity to contrast what we are and what we believe. I've got a story here, folks, a Politico story: "GOP Sounds Alarm Over America in Decline." ABC/Washington Post has a poll 32% think the country is doing right. The mood of this country is, "What the hell's going on?" More and more people think that we have an administration that's actively, happily presiding over the decline of this countr -- a decline a majority of the people in this country don't want -- and there doesn't seem to be any noticeable effort to stop this way of thinking or believing in Washington.
So one unfortunate constant seems to be the Republicans' incapacity to handle their electoral prosperity. You know, Obama -- in that first joint legislative meeting he had after he won -- had the Republicans up there. Boehner and some of these guys suggested the tax cuts and Obama said, "Hey, nice idea, but I won." Well, so did the Republicans in November. They won, but there's this (man, it's big, too) fear of a government shutdown, and it's causing them to negotiate as though they don't have the upper hand. It's patently obvious. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, has shown the way.
He has shown that it can be done, even in Wisconsin -- and if the Republicans aren't careful, they're gonna let their fear of bad PR kill the Tea Party revolution. And if they're not careful, what's gonna happen here is a third party is gonna happen, because the Tea Party crowd, the grassroots who made the Republican leadership possible? Make no mistake: It's the Tea Party turned out and voted that made the Republican leaders win, enabled their victory, made their leadership possible. If they're not satisfied with the direction they see, it's third-party time, and nobody's gonna be able to talk 'em out of it, and then we fracture our movement. (interruption) I don't know, Snerdley, if they would even listen to me on not forming a third-party. This is serious stuff. It really is. END TRANSCRIPT