The Other McCain

"One should either write ruthlessly what one believes to be the truth, or else shut up." — Arthur Koestler

Leaders Are People With Followers

Posted on | December 21, 2012 | 47 Comments

by Smitty

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.

Via amyvrwc

UPDATE: Welcome, Instapundit readers!



47 Responses to “Leaders Are People With Followers”

  1. t-dahlgren
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:15 am

    We are in a situation where, do nothing and all taxes go up.

    Voting to keep some down is not a vote for a tax increase.

    Even if you’d like to keep them all down, maybe you can’t. Do not make the perfect the enemy of the good.

    Boehner couldn’t articulate that to his own caucus in an understandable and acceptable way.

    This is not a problem of the caucus, it is a problem of the leadership. Objectively speaking this outcome is the equivalent of a vote of no confidence.

  2. higgins
    December 21st, 2012 @ 9:23 am

    Boehner, McConnell and the rest of the GOP leadership marginalized the Tea Party caucus in 2011. The GOP leadership is just reaping what is has sown.

  3. Evi L. Bloggerlady
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:20 am

    Boehner may find December 21, 2012 to be the end for him.

  4. scarymatt
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:22 am

    Full reform platform? Yes!

    What about right now? What should be done? Looks like “Let It Burn” has won. I can’t make up my mind if that’s good or bad.

    There is nothing whatsoever in the Fiscal Cliff debate that is of a national security nature.

    Well, at a minimum there’s the effect of sequestration upon the organs of the state responsible for national security. I think your penchant for metaphor has gotten in the way here, though, and I think you just mean that there’s little resemblance between a military chain of command and a political caucus.

  5. Instapundit » Blog Archive » THE REPUBLICANS WHO KILLED BOEHNER’S PLAN B. “This was a botched GOP House Leadership issue.” Re…
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:28 am

    […] “Leaders” Are People With Followers. “Boehner really ought to have been playing chess, and not poker. . . . The Republican Party, […]

  6. Doug Ross
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:40 am

    Boehner is an incompetent, inarticulate, and unprincipled “leader”.

    How hard would it be for Boehner to tell the truth to the American people? There are only two ways to prevent an economic catastrophe: grow the economy or slash spending.

    Instead of playing class warfare, how about proposing any of the following:

    1. Growing the economy by slashing the lowering the four lowest tax rates, crushing the class warfare argument while advancing classic Republican principles

    2. Explaining that the so-called, one-time “Emergency Stimulus Package” is being spent every year because of baseline budgeting — and proposing a 20% across-the-board cut to the federal government’s discretionary spending as a down-payment on entitlement reform

    2. Proposing to get rid of baseline budgeting, which is at the heart of Washington’s spending problem

    Is that so freaking hard?

  7. 20thCenturyVole
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    Boehner is an idiot. Gee, where did the “fiscal cliff” come from in the first place? He negotiated it, as a way to avoid doing what needed to be done LAST year. Pardon me if I don’t get overly excited about his chess-playing skills, huh?

  8. t-dahlgren
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:47 am

    Had they shown the intelligence, and leadership necessary to bring this ‘cliff’ to a positive resolution they might have gotten away with it.

  9. Fat_Man
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:57 am

    Personally I am happy that the Republican Caucus showed more balls and more commitment to principle than the Speaker did.

    The fiscal cliff will hurt the inhabitants of the big city suburbs who voted overwhelmingly for Hussein far more than it will hurt us hicks who live in low tax, low rent fly over country.

    Don’t bail them out. Wait until they crawl back screaming because of their AMT payments. Wait until the doctors crawl back screaming that that they just had their opportunities for medicare fraud cut. Wait until the sequester causes mass layoffs in in the Capitol District.

    Obama never wanted to negotiate. He want to stick the Republicans with the choice of the cliff or selling out their principles. The Republicans should stick to their guns. The only thing that could hurt them is being found to be lacking in backbone.

  10. mare
    December 21st, 2012 @ 12:07 pm

    Anyone who thinks Boehner is smart enough and sober enough to “play chess” with the libs, is delusional.
    hahahaha….Yeah, Boehner is just that smart.

  11. Quartermaster
    December 21st, 2012 @ 12:08 pm

    From your fingers to God’s ear.

  12. smitty
    December 21st, 2012 @ 12:11 pm

    There isn’t any reason this to be secretive, other than “Shut Up!”, he explained.

  13. bflat879
    December 21st, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

    Let’s place the blame squarely where it lies, with Reid and Obama. All they could do was say the deal he was putting together was dead on arrival and offered no hope. The conservatives want no tax increase and lower spending levels. Rather than allow for compromise, Reid and Obama just kept saying no. Rather than settle for the last no deal, which was a rounding error in cuts for an increase in the debt limit, the conservatives held fast and wanted a real deal. There should be no doubt, a deal could have been had if Obama and Reid wanted to deal, they didn’t. Time will tell if this was good or bad for Republicans and the country. Either way, no one should forget the culpability of Reid and Obama on this. If we only had a free press, people would know.

  14. anilpetra
    December 21st, 2012 @ 12:39 pm

    Pass a stand alone $100 billion debt increase, dedicated exclusively to paying interest and due principal on the debt, establish this as the first priority payment, and authorize not a penny of additional borrowing.

    If the Democrats refuse to pass this, or Obama refuses to sign it, and take the nation into default, they own it.

    Pass the full Republican reform agenda as another single up or down piece of legislation:

    End Obamacare. Cut spending 20% across the board. (include defence, those dollars are much less valuable with a weak and misguided commander in chief). Pass again the Ryan entitlement reforms. Pass a 5% tax cut across the board for all income groups. Fund any associated (smaller) deficit with new borrowing authority.

    Then, Mr. Boehner, take your caucus and leave town.

    And don’t come back until the Democrats pass this legislation. If they provoke a constitutional crisis, engage on all fronts. This is a battle for the future of this nation.

  15. Turning Leaves
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

    Exactly. Baldrick has better cunning plans.

  16. smitty
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    Baldrick is rumored to have hailed from a punning clan.

  17. smitty
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:25 pm

    “squarely where it lies” is with We The People, who have tolerated this noise for far too long.

  18. scarymatt
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:31 pm

    Disqus only lets me give you a single up vote, so here is an up-twinkles emoticon:


  19. scarymatt
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:36 pm

    So…when sequestration happens, and all those layoffs that weren’t properly warned of according to the WARN act happen, how much will the US taxpayer be on the hook for in order to follow through on the Labor Dept’s promises? Or has the Obama-Promise-Expiration-Date come and gone on that?

  20. mark abrams
    December 21st, 2012 @ 1:51 pm

    Let the vilification of the Tea Party begin. But wait, what about the demonization of the NRA ? Can Government Propaganda (MSNBC, NYT, etc.) handle 2 simultaneous hate campaigns ?

  21. Adjoran
    December 21st, 2012 @ 2:32 pm

    We live in a country where not only was Barack Obama reelected, but Missouri reelected Claire McCaskill and Montana reelected Jon Tester. What seems not “so freaking hard” to you is unfathomable to your countrymen.

  22. Adjoran
    December 21st, 2012 @ 2:36 pm

    Unfortunately, once additional debt is authorized, there may be other laws which require how it is spent.

  23. Adjoran
    December 21st, 2012 @ 2:37 pm

    So this is your great idea, then? Let It Burn AND let the GOP take the whole blame for it?


  24. richard mcenroe
    December 21st, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

    And Boehner was trying to pull a cunning stunt…

  25. K-Bob
    December 21st, 2012 @ 3:53 pm

    Mmmm. To inclusive. Some of the people, sure. But a lot of us have been fighting against this crap for years.

  26. K-Bob
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:02 pm

    I’m not real thrilled about a Con Con. We may be forced down that road someday, but I’d like to see what comes of efforts taken under the rubric of Interposition first.

    (A quick scan of Barnett’s proposal shows me why I’d be nervous about something like a Con Con. Whatever has to be tried MUST follow a keep-it-simple approach, and not some comprehensive beastie. A simple resolution is always best.)

  27. K-Bob
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:04 pm

    What post is this a response to? Because I sure don’t see any logical mapping between your words here and Smitty’s up there.

  28. Angel
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:12 pm

    If Justin Amash knew that Plan B wasn’t a tax increase (and it wasn’t – taxes are going up on everyone Jan. 1st, Plan B just dealt with everyone under $1 million and did not address anyone above) then what was his rational for planning to vote against it?

  29. higgins
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:33 pm

    I heard on TV that the Republicans are to blame, so that must be true. The TV people keep saying that President Obama and Majority Leader Reid are doing their best to work with the intransigent Republicans. Oh, and don’t forget, most Americans think that it is Bush’s fault that we are in this mess.

  30. higgins
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:35 pm

    You forgot “and mock the Obama supporters”.

  31. anilpetra
    December 21st, 2012 @ 4:59 pm

    Not so. As I wrote above, “establish this [paying interest and due principal on the debt] as the first priority payment”. The borrowing authorization legislation I propose by design explicitly reshuffles the priority of any and all prior obligations.

  32. Wombat_socho
    December 21st, 2012 @ 5:14 pm

    Oh, sure. There’s always haterade enough to go around at those places.

  33. Cube
    December 21st, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

    We are ruled by malicious Statists and a majority of the voting populace are foolish enough to want that. Like somebody said over at Ace’s place, you can’t save people from themselves. Let it burn – we can’t stop it anyway. But it will be fun to watch the shock of lefties as reality bites.

  34. JeffS
    December 21st, 2012 @ 5:33 pm

    “Let”? Between the socialists in office and the media, there’s no “let” about it. “Smearing” is too kind by half, not when you are dealing with a propaganda machine that Joseph Goebbels would envy.

  35. richard mcenroe
    December 21st, 2012 @ 7:51 pm

    Particularly since the leftists just kick over the chessboard when it suits them.

  36. Plan B Should Spell The End of the Reign of Crooks and Thieves Within The GOP | Alan Charles Itzkoff – the Conservative Top 10
    December 21st, 2012 @ 8:12 pm

    […] Leaders Are People With Followers : The Other McCain […]

  37. Beeblebrocs
    December 21st, 2012 @ 8:25 pm

    I heard Medved make this same argument. But it is completely fallacious.

    “Voting to keep some down is not a vote for a tax increase.”

    Wrong! The vote was to keep some taxes as they are and to raise some. Your inoperative word was “some”. If it had been “all” then you would have been correct.

    “Even if you’d like to keep them all down, maybe you can’t. Do not make the perfect the enemy of the good.”

    The “perfect” would have been lowering all rates and demanding a balanced budget. “Good” would have been cutting spending and leaving rates as they are. “Bad” would have been leaving spending as it is and not raising taxes. Terrible would have been increasing spending and leaving taxes alone.

    Guess what Mr. Chess Player decided to negotiate.

  38. Beeblebrocs
    December 21st, 2012 @ 8:38 pm

    I wrote my congressman asking him nicely to withhold his support of Boehner when the House convenes to elect the Speaker.

    Here is what he just emailed back to me:

    “Currently, no one has indicated their intention to run against Speaker John Boehner in the 113th Congress. It is a hard job and candidly, the Speaker exceeded my expectations. That said, you and I share many of the same values and I will be working to hold the Speaker to those values in our negotiations with the President. Finally, the Speaker cannot be faulted for the failure of the Senate to move on legislation passed in the House.”

    So lots of excuses for a man who actually came up with the sequestration debacle. I DO fault Boehner and not Reid. Boehner is signing Obama’s checks not Reid. All the Speaker has to do is go on television and tell the American Public that Obama is not negotiating in good faith and until he does, the House will go home and not return.

    No CRs. No debt ceiling increase. The GOP is getting blamed for whatever happens so let them be blamed for taking a stand on principle.

  39. McGehee
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:44 pm

    Um, a debt increase earmarked to paying down debt is borrowing money to pay back what you borrowed.

    If the point is to reduce debt the first thing to do is stop borrowing.

  40. anilpetra
    December 21st, 2012 @ 10:49 pm

    this proposal *stops* the spending beyond our means. any alternative borrows to make these same payments *plus* funding all the other deficit spending.

  41. t-dahlgren
    December 21st, 2012 @ 11:44 pm

    ” The vote was to keep some taxes as they are and to raise some. ”

    You got a link to that – that Boehner’s plan included increases in tax rates? On who? What rates were being increased as part of Boehner’s bill and by how much?

    I call bullshit. There were no rate increases in that bill.

    The Bushe era rates are all temporary – they have an expiration date. Taxes are going up on everyone if the House does nothing. That is what you call ‘terrible’ and that is exactly where we are headed if nothing gets passed.

    If they do something they might be able to keep at least some rates down.

    Sure – as I already mentioned – ideally you’d keep them all down. But that has no chance of passing the Senate AND would allow the Dems to place all the blame on the Republicans.

    A bill to keep at least some tax rates down would have forced the Democrat’s hands. If they vote for it then at least some taxes stay down and they are on record supporting low taxes on principle. Vote it down and they take the blame for ALL tax increases.

    Apparently that is just too complex for some to comprehend.

    There are multiple fights going on, we simply cannot with the fiscal fight right now, but a political win can lay the stage for such victory later. Doing nothing is not a political victory.

  42. Micha_Elyi
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 4:08 am

    When the Bush Tax Cuts get wiped out as Barry desires, won’t the tens of millions of lower-income households (mostly unwed mommas) that Bush got off the income tax rolls come right back on? If so, let Barry explain to Ms. Obama-Phone why she’s gonna pay in this April instead of getting the EIC check she’s expecting.

  43. Micha_Elyi
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 4:11 am

    Sounds like the Republican Caucus and Boehner got tired of negotiating against themselves. Finally!

  44. Micha_Elyi
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 4:24 am

    Too late. When Evi posted, it was already Saturday, 22 Dec 2012 in Guam, where America’s day begins.

    Christians win again. “But of that day and hour no one knows, neither the angels of heaven, nor the Son,* but the Father alone.” Matthew 24:36 NAB

  45. McGehee
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 8:42 am

    Borrowing to pay debt is irrational — which would be the only possible reason Congress would do it.

  46. anilpetra
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 10:16 am

    you’re completely missing the point. we’ve been spending far more than the nation’s tax revenue since the last days of the Clinton-era Republican Congress. not a penny of principal or interest on the margin has been paid out of tax revenues since the 1990s, it’s all been with debt. with the Democrats in the Senate and the Presidency, we can’t constrain spending enough to balance the budget. in fact, Democrats use the threat of default to get huge increases in the debt limit, and the republicans go along like lap dogs. this is a measure to take default off the table, put the blame for a failure to refuse to STOP spending beyond our means on the Democrats, squarely.

  47. Beeblebrocs
    December 22nd, 2012 @ 11:09 am

    Before you start lecturing people about how “complex” this is you need to do a little research my friend.

    The bill would have allowed taxes to rise. It’s in the language of the bill. Plan be had specifics on the million dollar income level. If the bill had been silent on that issue it would have been bad enough but the reason that the GOP caucus wouldn’t support the bill is because it raised taxes.

    Boehner HIMSELF is one of the authors of the sequestration deal which set this fiscal cliff trope into motion. HE didn’t deal with the tax issue a year ago and now people are defending him because he has a weak hand?


    Plan B was NEVER going to see daylight. He was stupid to think that forcing the conservatives to cave on a tax increase was going to work.

    Obama and Reid WANTED Boehner to come up with a tax increase plan (which he did) and then they were going to demagogue it to death.

    The politics AND the breaking of principle were both losing issues.

    Plan B SHOULD have been the Ryan Budget and that would have been that.

    Now, Boehner goes home to Ohio with his tail between his legs and the GOP look like a bunch of losers. This is Boehner’s fault. He needs to go.

    That simple enough for you?