As John Boehner attempts to whip his caucus for a vote this morning on version 1.1 of his debt-ceiling bill, the Speaker gets some support from Investors Business Daily. It’s not enthusiastic support, mind you, but IBD’s editors seem to feel that the only thing worse than passion Boehner 1.1 is not passing Boehner 1.1:
President Obama may not have a plan for resolving the debt crisis, but he definitely has a goal — to shift blame for the lousy economy onto Republicans’ shoulders. Above all else, the GOP must not let that happen.
When House Speaker John Boehner released his latest plan to cut spending in exchange for raising the debt ceiling, attacks from Obama and his fellow Democrats were to be expected.
The attacks from the GOP side, however, are short-sighted at best. They risk giving Obama what he wants more than anything — a way to weasel out of responsibility for the economic mess his policies have produced.
As Charles Krauthammer did on Wednesday, the conservative IBD editorial board urges Republicans to take a long view:
As Obama’s poll numbers continue to sag, his hopes for re-election increasingly depend on his ability to convince voters that he had nothing to do with the lousy economy. And if the GOP blows the current debt standoff, Obama will be free to blame any bad economic news going forward on Republican intransigence.
Republicans can’t let themselves fall into this trap. Obama, and Obama alone, is responsible for the fact that two years after the recession ended, the unemployment rate is above 9%, growth is stagnant, inflation is rising, and federal spending and debt are exploding.
They conclude with the thought that it’s better to lose a skirmish than the entire war, but this isn’t even really losing the skirmish. It’s not a great victory either, but Republicans have changed the paradigm of deficit reduction in Washington in this debate. Tax hikes are off the table, and we’re now talking about spending reductions to address the long-term debt situation.
Passing Boehner 1.1 puts the onus back on the Democrats in the Senate to produce an alternative, which would be their very first vote on any plan in this crisis. If they pass a Reid plan, then the entire issue goes to a conference committee and we end up with a compromise on the principles of the GOP. If the Senate refuses to act at all, then it’s not the fault of Republicans when the deadline arrives.
IBD’s two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Michael Ramirez puts the crises in spending, long-term debt, and leadership into single-frame perspective this morning:
Also, be sure to check out Ramirez’ terrific collection of his works: Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, which covers the entire breadth of Ramirez’ career, and it gives fascinating look at political history. Read my review here, and watch my interviews with Ramirez here and here. And don’t forget to check out the entire Investors.com site, which has now incorporated all of the former IBD Editorials, while individual investors still exist.