Yesterday marked an inglorious milestone for the Democrat leadership in the U.S. Senate: it was the 3-year anniversary of the last time they passed a budget measure. Senator Jeff Sessions, the ranking Republican member of the Senate Budget Committee, seems to have diagnosed the problem. Via the Daily Caller:
“This is a deliberate plan that the Democratic majority has executed for three years to avoid the responsibility of laying out a financial plan for America,” [Sessions] said in an interview.
The Democratic majority in the Senate, Sessions said, “cannot lead.”
“When your party cannot coalesce around a plan that your members can support and the American people can support, then you’ve got a very deep, serious problem. And I think that is basically what it is,” he explained.
“So you’ve got to hide that by avoiding any public accountability. So you have secret meetings, the gang of six, and those kind of things — trying to move along without every having to lay out their vision.”
This is undoubtedly true, but it’s not even the worst of it. While they lack the courage and vision to lay out any meaningful solutions of their own, they have mocked, demonized, and ultimately blocked any serious consideration of conservative proposals for tax reform, deficit reduction, and dealing with the long term fiscal imbalances in Social Security and Medicare. As Treasury Secretary said, they don’t have a solution – they just don’t like ours.
For a party whose most strident members prattle on incessantly about ‘real Democracy’, they sure don’t seem to have much respect for it in practice. Republicans won a landslide victory in 2010, retaking the House and gaining seats in the Senate, largely behind a wave of voter discontent over liberal spending priorities. ObamaCare first and foremost, but remember the tea party arose in direct response to the stimulus bill and the government bailouts of the auto and financial sectors. It wasn’t lost on the tea party, or anyone else paying attention, that Democrats used the financial crisis to shovel billions of dollars into pet liberal projects they had desired for years. “Never let a crisis go to waste”, Rahm Emanuel said, and they didn’t as far as their own priorities were concerned, but if you were one of the millions of Americans out of work or facing foreclosure of your home, you were out of luck.
This discontent was the wave Republicans rode to victory in 2010, and dozens of new GOP members of the House and Senate came into office to advance real solutions for the nation’s fiscal and economic ills. What they met was a wall of obstruction by Democrats in the Senate, and a President who quickly demonstrated he was more interested in positioning himself for re-election than providing any real leadership. In a rational world, this conscious decision by the Democrat leadership to avoid dealing with these problems would lead to another overwhelming defeat in November. And perhaps it will. But maybe their strategy all along has been to minimize the consequences of running out the clock as much as possible, but keeping their ultimate goal in mind which is to allow the Bush tax cuts to expire at the end of this year. After all, what’s the point of passing a budget if you don’t have more and more of the people’s money to spend.