There’s a reason that most sound bites in the news are less than seven seconds long; in the modern media, that’s considered the limit of the typical viewer’s  attention span.

Ditto for political slogans and memes.  It’s easy for someone to say, for example, “Tom Emmer’s opposition to gay marriage means he hates gays” – it’s a simple little line that takes mere seconds to ingrain itself into the minds of the susceptible; un-ingraining it takes long, detailed, attention-span-burning minutes to debunk.

The budget battle is one of those things.

The Tea Party was based – as it should have been – around a couple of simple but vital ideas; cut spending, reduce taxes, reduce the size of government.

It was those ideas that, as a matter of fact, won the Novembe 2010 election for the GOP.

Now, there are a lot of conservatives complaining that the GOP – in Saint Paul and in DC – have lost the way lit by those simple directions.

The complicated answer:  we only control the House of Representatives in Washington; any legislation favorite by the Tea Party needs to pass a hostile Senate and a president who, if he shows up for work, will veto it if it’s too far outside his comfort zone.   Much as it irritates Tea Partiers, it’s taken some old-fashioned politics to get things this far.

In fact, the complicated part is that last week’s budget wasn’t really “the budget”; the debate was over, and the cuts were to, the discrtionary spending budget, which is a small fraction of the government’s multi-trillion dollar behemoth.  The bad news: the GOP had to hold off on some cuts.  The good news?  Commitments to up-or-down votes that’ll be useful in next year’s campaign to take the Senate. Because without the Senate and, hopefully, the Presidency, real reform is costly-to-impossible.

So the just-shy-of-$40 bilion of cuts were to a small fracion of the budget. Now – things will heat up with the introduction of Rep. Ryan’s plan to reform non-discretionary spending in a little bit here.   That’s where the real money is.

The real points are these:

  • Until conservatives control the government, some compromise is inevitable. That’s why we warned you after the last election – the work has really only begun; we have to take the Senate.  And keep it.
  • No one single vote is going to be the litmus test of reform. It’s a process.  Processes are boing, and they take years, and in the long run that’s a good thing.  Of course, we’re worried if there’s going to be a “long run”.
  • The media knows this.  They will use the time it’s taking as a wedge to try to drive the Tea Party away from the GOP.  Expect a raft of “Tea Partiers fret that things are just going too slow” manufactured outrage in coming weeks.

All the more reason the Tea Party rallies this weekend are so vital.

More later.

17 thoughts on “Education

  1. I agree with all of this. We’ve now prepared the battlefield for the fall. I suspect people might feel a little better about it if Boehner didn’t look like someone shot his dog.

  2. Thank you Mitch for writing this. Tea Partiers are taking an all or nothing approach and as one I don’t like that. Compromise, for now, is okay. The debt ceiling is going to be the real battle.

  3. *nod*
    Pick a policy and stick with it.
    But it is politics, so it’s a struggle to get what you can get (and then don’t have a fit). 🙂

  4. Maybe if they snuck the budget out on the 18th green disguised as a golf score card Obama would sign it. Or tell him it’s the itinerary for his 25th vacation since taking office.

  5. Speaking of education, isn’t it interesting that before government education, people would listen to the Lincoln-Douglas debates and read the Federalist Papers, and after that, they would not?

    All the reason I need to get my kids out of the government schools!

  6. You’re wrong Mitch!! All spending starts in the House, period. Boehner has proven he’s unfit to be Speaker by such poor leadership. He has thrown away every tool of leverage at his disposal. Worse, leadership is trying hard to tell us it’s ok when it’s not and that they don’t have any power, when they control the budget. We’re not stupid, we see it. Now we see which side of the fence you’re on. It makes me wonder why you’re going to talk at the rally Saturday because I don’t see you as a Tea Party person.

  7. Mike needs to brush up on the Constitution. While spending bills do start in the House, the need to pass the Senate, go through conference committee and then actually get signed by the guy living at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. Boehner has his work cut out for him.
    I know it’s complicated, but that’s the process.

  8. This is exactly why civics should be taught in school and not “social justice” teachings.

  9. Kermit nailed this.

    I spoke with Erik Paulsen a couple of weeks ago and he told several of us supporters that this kind of stuff would happen. They have a hostile Senate, so they may have to compromise to get things through. This strategy will give them more ammunition for the 2012 elections and expose the further expose the Dims fiscal stupidity and partisanship.

  10. “expose the further expose”

    Sorry. Only had one cup of coffee this morning, so my brain is not fully engaged! 😉

  11. PM, I think your right in that the amount cut is just a drop in the bucket and nobody should be happy with it.

    Where I think you are wrong is that the debate has changed. People are now talking about the debt, entitlements (even SSI cuts), and how we reduce it.

    Republicans need to keep the focus on fiscal policy and the threats we face due to decades of run away Democrat and RINO spending.

    Overall, IF we can continue the debate on sound fiscal policy this budget battle will be seen by the Dems as Waterloo.

  12. The next fight will be over raising the federal debt ceiling. Personally I think $14 trillion is enough.

  13. Kermit, I agree but if we don’t raise it and default on our loans were all SOL and the dems will capitalize on it.

  14. Ben make the conditions for allowing the debt ceiling increase include a Balanced Budget and a realistic plan to get us out of debt.

    Yes the Dems will say bad things about Republicans if they fight over the debt ceiling. Guess what? They will say bad things about Republicans if they allow the Dems to do exactly what they want to as well.

  15. I agree jpmn, but are we willing to possibly collapse our economy if we don’t get what we want? All I know is that I trust gold and silver now a lot more than the US dollar.

  16. …”are we willing to possibly collapse our economy if we don’t get what we want?”

    Ben, you’re getting the arguement entirely wrong. Cutting up the credit cards isn’t what has gotten us into trouble( it’s the first action that needs to happen), it’s the past decades of overspending that has brought us to the edge. Our economy will surely collapse if we continue to cave into the Dems or try to outspend them. It isn’t a risk, it’s as sure as the Sun coming up tomorrow. We can not continue this level of spending and expect other nations to continue to pay for it.

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