Friday, April 8, 2011

Speaker Faces Grease Fire

A government shutdown is President Obama's best friend.


No matter who is to blame, Republicans will look like they don't have any feelings for those expecting Social Security Checks or American Soldiers bravely defending our interests on foreign soil.


Even if the Republicans are right to hold out for meaningful budget cuts (and they are right), they always lose the public relations war because millions of Americans have become dependent on the old eagle squatting every two weeks or so.


It's a strange modern media world here in America.  If you are right on an important principle you have to be willing to lose the media battle and look bad in the public eye.


Former Governor Strickland is looking back at last November's election and wistfully wondering what would have happened  if Senate Bill 5 had been around to galvanize labor when he ran for reelection.


Strickland knows that the media blitz mostly in favor of the democrats could have struck a mighty blow on his behalf, perhaps derailing the Kasich express.


If republicans are going to lose the government shutdown public relations bingo game, what can they do?


They have two choices.  One, compromise and live to fight another day.  Two, fight until the bitter end, causing shutdown and possibly reviving the sleeping giant of anti-republicanism that swept Obama and Strickland into office.


Number two is the moral and honorable way to go.  It also will allow plenty of freshman congressmen to keep their tea party pledge to hold the line on government spending.


Here's the problem.  Number two could also mean defeat in the big elections in 2012, which includes crucial legislative posts and of course, the Presidency.


Here's the real kicker.  If the republicans choose what some politicians might call the smart choice of compromising and fighting bigger battles in the future, the budget might continue growing.


A growing budget means more Americans even more dependent on the public largesse  than ever before.  More dependence on government money means even more difficulty in winning over the public in a budget war.


In other words, a smart compromise might mean it is more difficult to make cuts in the future.


It's kind of like throwing water on a grease fire.  It's supposed to put out the fire but it only makes things worse.                


So… do you give up your long term quest to end big government in favor of a short term but importantly symbolic victory on this temporary budget measure?


Not an easy question to answer, but nonetheless a question that will likely determine the direction of American politics for years to come.


Grease fires require fire extinguishers.  House Speaker John Boehner could use one right now.

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