Wednesday, April 6, 2011
By Rich Galen
Over the 12 years of writing MULLINGS, I have often strayed - sometimes pretty far - from Conservative Orthodoxy.
Orthodoxy is defined in Merriam Webster's Third Unabridged as: Conformity to an official formulation of truth especially in religious belief or practice … contrasted with heresy.
# "Ah," as someone smarter than I once must have written, "it is a sprinkling of that pesky heresy which provides the spice of discourse."
But today, I am fully in the camp of the Tea Party when I say: "Shut 'er down." Shut down the government when the Continuing Resolution runs out on Friday.
All those Republican freshmen who were elected to get their collective arms around government spending have been pretty good in sticking together and demanding that the Senate Democrats - and specifically Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev) pay attention.
He hasn't. He says things like "we want to meet the House Republicans half-way" because it sounds so reasonable. The problem is, the distance between what the Democrats proposed for 2011 spending when they owned everything in 2010 is way, WAY higher than what the House Republicans are looking for so Harry Reid's "half-way" is … not.
If the House allows the Federal government to shut down because of Reid's intransigence, then the freshmen can go home and tell their constituents they were true to their campaign pledge: Cut government spending or else.
The first two days of the shutdown will be Saturday and Sunday which aren't big traffic days in Your Nation's Capital under any circumstances. Monday is a so-so day because there usually aren't any votes in the House or Senate which allow Members to mosey back from their taxpayer-funded trips home. Tuesday, though, is usually a full work day in Washington, DC.
If the leadership works over the weekend and gets a compromise acceptable to the House freshmen ready to go on Monday morning, it can be filed and voted on Wednesday or Thursday and the whole Federal system can be back to humming like a Lionel train set by late in the week.
This shutdown fight is just a small battle over spending limits for the remaining five months of the 2011 fiscal year which ends on September 30.
That's like the battle for North Africa in World War II which was important, in that it introduced three of the major actors in the European Theater of Operations: Rommel, Montgomery, and Patton; but it wasn't the tide turner.
What House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis) proposed yesterday is the equivalent of the invasion at Normandy. If the Republicans can pull off a major percentage of what Ryan has mapped out, they will win the war on federal spending.
That's the big prize.
By shutting the government down on Friday, the House Majority will signal President-slash-candidate Obama and the Senate Democrats that they mean business and they are willing to put their seats on the line to do what they had promised.
As alien a concept as that has been in Washington over the past several decades, it is likely that the more senior Members of the House and Senate - Democrats and Republicans - aren't taking the freshmen seriously.
They do so at their own peril.
You know the old saying about government spending: Pork is a project in your district. A project in my district is necessary spending.
I understand that it is the job of each of the 435 voting Members of the House to represent their constituencies. But, sometimes the greater good for their constituents is asking them to sacrifice on behalf of the greater good for the nation.
In this case, beginning the process weaning ourselves from the mother's milk of federal spending is a necessary first step toward learning to eat on our own as we fend for ourselves by taking less from the federal government.
By the time you read this, a compromise avoiding a government shutdown may have been reached. More's the pity. If so, Reid, Obama, et. al. use that as ammunition against the larger, more necessary cuts coming in 2012 and what are call the "out years."
"Look how reasonable we were," they'll say. "Now it's time for the Republicans to reach out the hand of compromise to us."
That is a false argument onto which the popular press will latch as the election cycle moves on to show how unreasonably committed to their orthodoxy the Republicans truly are.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: A link to the Politico.com piece on a possible budget compromise, and a link to a brief history of the North Africa campaign in World War II.
Also, a pretty good Mullfoto from my plane flying over the Grand Canyon and a Catchy Caption of the Day.
To read another article by Rich Galen, click here.
Posted by Brett at 11:26 AM