McConnell’s Single Biggest Goal: Consolidating Power (UPDATED)
I have been fretting since I realized some three months ago that the Republicans are going to take control of the Senate as well as the House, and Mitch McConnell and John Boehner are going to be ‘the leadership’ for the country. How scary is it to know that the two branches of the same party (Big Government) are sparring so as to appear to be enemies? How scary is it to know that we are moving from the whips and electric cattle prods of Nancy and Harry’s regime to the velvet gloved iron fist of McConnell and Boehner?
McConnell’s comment to National Journal and Boehner’s ‘compromise’ on tax cuts only highlights what we all know to be true about the District of Criminals; it’s all about retaining power and control – not taking care of the country whose wealth has been drained and capital sent overseas.
If Americans want real change in Washington, Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. Ron Paul should be the leadership team to push the agenda that demands a rollback of 100 years of progressive nudge and stops the ‘global governance’ crowd from delivering a fatal blow to America’s sovereignty through debt.
A McConnell/Boehner team is not written in stone; it’s just more District of Criminals ‘business as usual’.
Boston University economist Laurence Kotlikoff says U.S. government debt is not $13.5-trillion (U.S.), which is 60 per cent of current gross domestic product, as global investors and American taxpayers think, but rather 14-fold higher: $200-trillion – 840 per cent of current GDP. “Let’s get real,” Prof. Kotlikoff says. “The U.S. is bankrupt.”
Writing in the September issue of Finance and Development, a journal of the International Monetary Fund, Prof. Kotlikoff says the IMF itself has quietly confirmed that the U.S. is in terrible fiscal trouble – far worse than the Washington-based lender of last resort has previously acknowledged. “The U.S. fiscal gap is huge,” the IMF asserted in a June report. “Closing the fiscal gap requires a permanent annual fiscal adjustment equal to about 14 per cent of U.S. GDP.”
McConnell and Boehner are creatures of Congress who are not driven by any desire to live at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.
McConnell frets, however, about controlling expectations among tea party activists likely to want—and quite possibly demand—that bigger GOP numbers in Congress produce big things: a swift repeal of the health care reform law; a massive U-turn on federal spending; and immediate action to reduce the national debt. Tea party darling and likely freshman mover-and-shaker Marco Rubio of Florida, for instance, summed up the movement’s ax-wielding gusto in July: “Every day we postpone acting decisively to rein in wasteful spending and cut the debt, we pile even more on the backs of millions of young Americans.”
In one sign of conditional unity, Sen. Jim DeMint, the South Carolina Republican who backed many tea party candidates in open defiance of McConnell and other GOP leaders, says he isn’t spoiling for a leadership fight. But note the qualification. “I have no intention of challenging the leadership,” DeMint told National Journal. “What I have done over the last year has ruffled a lot of feathers in our conference. The chance of me getting the votes is not realistic at this point.” But DeMint says that Senate Republicans must change the way they approach spending and do it soon, or tea party activists will lose faith and rebel even more.
“We have to understand, this is not so much a Republican victory.… I see it more as a realignment of American politics,” DeMint said. “We’re going to have more Republicans, and the composition is going to be more of a limited-government idea. The biggest challenge we have is to change the idea that senators are here to do what is best for their states, to get all they can for their states and the interests operating in their states.”
And this is where DeMint is spoiling for a confrontation. He wants Republicans to cut spending no matter what effect those reductions have on their home-state constituents. He says this would be a “definitional” culture shift among Republicans, and he considers the pledge made by all the Senate GOP candidates—including relative moderates such as Mark Kirk of Illinois and Carly Fiorina of California—to adopt the no-earmarks policy the beginning of that change. DeMint sees earmarks as a symptom of a deeper problem: the structural bias for more discretionary spending and the clout that comes with it.
To reverse that trend, DeMint wants to upend generations of bipartisan logrolling. What’s his ask? That GOP leaders permanently exclude themselves from the Appropriations Committee, which allocates non-entitlement spending. If that rule had been in place during this Congress, three GOP leaders would have been kicked off Appropriations—McConnell, Tennessee’s Lamar Alexander, and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski. “If we are going to cut spending, we have to take the power away from those responsible for spending,” DeMint says. “We have to say no to a power base that can be corrupting over time, not in the sense of anything criminal, but in the sense that your focus is spending and not cutting.”
McConnell was icily noncommittal about DeMint’s idea: “We will debate any rule changes brought before the conference.” Kyl is downright opposed. “That suggests there’s something wrong with [the current system],” he said. DeMint’s point is that there is, in fact, something wrong with the current system. Thus, Senate Republicans may find themselves divided over their own rules even before they begin to grapple with Obama over spending, tax rates, or entitlements.
UPDATE: I’m even more worried now. Chuck Schumer as the Senate Leader?