Posted on | December 21, 2012 | 47 Comments
So the House GOP broke on Plan B. This is telling, emphasis mine:
Upstairs by the House floor, which was now closed after Boehner’s announcement, a handful of senior members discussed the whip count. They decided to go out for drinks near Union Station, in order to avoid their colleagues who’d be hanging at the Capitol Hill Club on the House side. “I don’t want to talk to the people who ruined this, at least right now,” a retiring House member told me. “They don’t get it.” Another senior member told me that Boehner was always going to struggle with the whip count since most House conservatives have little interest in seeing the speaker strike any kind of deal. “Boehner was trying to play chess and the caucus was playing checkers,” he said, sighing. “Boehner is willing to lose a pawn for a queen. I’m not sure about the rest.”
Representative Justin Amash of Michigan, a conservative with libertarian leanings, was stunned. As he walked back to his office, he said the episode was unfortunate, even though he was planning to vote against the measure. For the past month, since House leaders booted him off the budget committee, he has been railing against Boehner for his management style. But even Amash wondered whether the House GOP was making the right move. “Too many people in there were arguing that this thing is a tax increase, and I don’t think that’s what Boehner was trying to do,” he said. As much as he disagrees with Boehner’s approach, even he regretted how the speaker’s plan was killed.
If you’re in a military situation, and everyone is under the UCMJ, then the authoritarian mode is far more workable. You can toss out the “Because I said so” argument, and toss malingerers under the bus.
It isn’t clear in politics that you can play it that way. There is nothing whatsoever in the Fiscal Cliff debate that is of a national security nature. Boehner really ought to have been playing chess, and not poker. Truly, the seeds of most evils are planted with cards held close to the chest. Thus, if Boehner is unhappy with the results, Boehner can blame Boehner. This country has been producing chips from nowhere and piling them on the table for these decades, and the table is collapsing under the weight of the idiocy.
It is, in fact, time to return to chess, with all the pieces on the table in plain view. The Republican Party, if interested in turning around both its and the country’s decline, ought to consider a full reform platform, and start selling it to voters for the 2014 election. Something that admits that the last century of collapse into a single Progressive uber-State is a pair of deuces that thinks itself a royal flush. Something that builds upon ideas, e.g. Barnett’s Bill of Federalism, that redistribute power, not wealth.
The Republican Party has to be more than Gasping Obama Patsies to make a difference.
UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!