A political feeding frenzy is about to begin and it may seem like the Democrats are steps ahead. The Republicans, however, may be handed what amounts to rhetorical manna: frank talk.It is now very clear, for any one who cares to see it, that what was supposed to be a budget deal last week was a political trojan the White House politicos have been cooking for months. Speaker Boehner and his team won the first skirmish, but many battles lay ahead.
On a positive note, it is good to hear Democrats adopt Republican talking points that the deficit is to high and that cuts are necessary. The President’s deficit speech yesterday, however, was as nauseating and condescending. It should make you angry. They are to using rhetorical tricks and accounting wizardry to wage two battles at the same time: appear centrist, but govern hard left using higher taxes and more government.
It is an old tactic, but spun by a very good public relations machine. But is it good enough this time? It may have worked in the 1990s, and it most certainly fooled folks during the 2008 election (he had not real record to run on). But voters are better informed now and conservatives better organized.
Judging from yesterday’s performance, the Administration may not be so subtle this time. They are pushy and vulnerable because the country wants “change” but not the change some Democrats have in mind. Some even seem angry, including the President and his Treasury Secretary. Consider some of yesterday verbal volleys.
“Congress will pass an increase in the debt limit,” Treasury Secretary Geithner decreed on the taxpayer paid public television PBS News Hour. Telling any American what he or she must do, especially the Congress, is not a good idea. Geithner also said that taxing the highest 2% of Americans was fair game and necessary. Not very centrist or moderate. Then there’s the President.
Quoting Abraham Lincoln at the start of his speech, the President later chimed in with civil war-like class rhetoric:
“There’s nothing serious about a plan that claims to reduce the deficit by spending a trillion dollars on tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires. And I don’t think there’s anything courageous about asking for sacrifice from those who can least afford it and don’t have any clout on Capitol Hill.
That is a lie and he and his speech writers know it. We need more millionaires and billionaires, small, medium, and large business, not less. That, not raising taxing or government programs, is what will keep the U.S. economy growing. The Wall Street Journal editors called it toxic. That’s generous.
The good news is that Republicans have these people on the run, but the political boogeymen, hyenas, and talismans are being brought out to scare the elephants. Let’s hope the true party of Lincoln stands its ground and wages a principled fight on raising the debt ceiling (bad idea unless tied to deep deficit cuts) and supporting the Ryan budget (great idea). The Left is giving us plenty of ammunition. Let’s use it.