On The Other Hand…

Paul-Ryan-Patty-MurrayFurther to our post yesterday regarding the budget plan, let us consider the flip side of the coin. For there’s always two.

I wrote yesterday that anyone interested in keeping the train from going over the cliff ought be leery of the proposed deal, as it trades “bird in the hand” cuts under current law for smaller deficit reduction to be realized over time. Additionally, there’s no guarantee that sequester cuts wouldn’t be rolled back again after this two year budget, should it pass. Congress has a penchant for simply passing waivers to laws that don’t sit well, i.e. Pay-As-You-Go statutes. My assertion that this plan isn’t serious stands.

However, a day has passed, and I admit that fellow conservatives have points to be made that this deal, while imperfect, suits us well in the long run. The GOP can ill-afford another opportunity for the President and Democrats to bludgeon them to death should we cross another deadline into a government shutdown again. That ammo is custom made for easy firing, and for whatever reason the GOP is easier to hit when time to apportion blame. Approving this budget deal takes that ammo out of the gun.

And for good reason; we have big fish to fry. Any potential budget showdown distracts from any possibility of the GOP adding to the weights around Democrats necks that is Obamacare. An average of 54.3% of those polled oppose Obamacare (57% of the critical Milennial voting block oppose it), and common wisdom states that all eyes need to remain on its disastrous roll out in order for Republicans to achieve significant inroads in the next mid-term. The GOP needs the Senate (to start with), and stands to repeat the historic “shellacking” they imposed on Democrats in 2010 if they can continue pointing to Obamacare as the latest case of Democrat malfeasance.

A word of caution, however. Poor public sentiment surrounding Obamacare does not necessarily equate to GOP Senate wins next year. Trampling the policy won’t cut it. The GOP must run on a cogent and consistent message in order to resonate with voters, putting out principled candidates, and a viable alternative, who will simultaneously make the case against Obamacare while also avoiding costly and very public gaffes that have previously derailed winnable seats.

We also face public suspicion (however undeserved) of Tea Party members in this cycle. Where previously the grass roots effort was very effective in sweeping strong candidates into office, the Left has been quite successful in tainting the Tea Party name. Intransigent radicals, you see. Cutting through that particular fog might prove difficult should candidates run on that platform.

Which ever route proves to be the “correct” -or least bad- one, this case does expose the difficulty of navigating conservative policy right now. We have several important issues to confront, among those the deficit and Obamacare. However, taking a stand on either one weakens our position with the other, at least as far as this new budget deal is concerned. Should we accept the deal, we must hand back $63 billion of those sequester cuts. Paltry as they are, a journey of a thousand miles begins with one small step. In return, we continue the War on Obamacare (because we’re always waging “War” on something, right?).

Should we oppose the deal, we risk another shutdown showdown and yet another public flogging by Democrats. The country’s eyes are taken off Obamacare and thereby we lose important leverage to use in the midterm elections. In return, we retain real cuts to a bloated budget that’s contributed to a $17 trillion dollar fiscal operating debt. We need to start somewhere.

Will the time be now? Time will tell.



About Michael Haugen

Michael Haugen is a full-spectrum conservative and recent graduate from Eastern Washington University (BS Biology). His main interests in politics and public policy center around health care, education and tax reform. He'll be returning to EWU in 2014 to complete a Master's degree in Public Administration. Follow him on Twitter: @HaugenTRA

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