Monday, December 24, 2012

The Far Right Demands The GOP Push The Economy Over The Cliff


Polls universally show that most Americans will blame the congressional Republicans-- particularly Boehner for his incompetence and the teabaggers for their extremism-- if December 31 comes and goes and the U.S. slips down the fiscal slope. [An aside here, corporate news consumers across the globe have bought into the concept that going over the "Fiscal Cliff" is tantamount to a worldwide recession, which could actually become a self-fulfilling prophecy as people take actions based on the absurd assumptions from China to Europe.]

The Republican strategy is two-fold: you have the far right string pullers demanding that the GOP push the economy over the cliff (and threatening to primary anyone who tries to stop it) and then you have Republican elected officials trying desperately to say it's Obama's fault for not just giving in to all their demands-- which, as we've seen for the last decade, is the way the GOP defines "compromise."

Various Tea Party groups funded by emboldened and arrogant plutocrats like the Koch brothers plus the Club For Growth and the Heritage Foundation, looking for any way to discredit democracy by causing it to fail, are huffing, puffing and cheering on the impending "doom". After killing Boehner's Plan B compromise, "they say Republicans should be empowered to make big demands and stop caving to Obama out of fear. They argue it is Obama who has something to fear if the economy slides into a recession because of tax increases and spending cuts, and the GOP that has leverage." Their perspective is-- as always-- to cause ordinary American families as much pain as possible, hoping that in a blind rage they'll turn against democracy and towards the ideal right wing solution to governance: fascism.
“I think Obama is very mindful of his legacy and is horrified of going over the cliff,” said Andy Roth of the Club for Growth. “Going over the cliff might be a signal that needs to be sent to the president, that he needs to play ball.”

He argued that President Clinton was forced to become a less liberal president after Speaker Newt Gingrich shut down the government in 1995.

“Clinton would not play ball with Newt until Newt shut the government down,” Roth said.

...Conservatives also argue Republicans will see their brand diminished by agreeing to anything that could be labeled a tax hike.

Boehner’s bill would have extended Bush-era tax rates on all annual income under $1 million, but conservatives said it raised taxes since rates on income more than $1 million would have gone up.

“I think it is certainly better to go over the fiscal cliff than to have the Republican party deny the American people to have one party that stands for lower taxes and another party that doesn’t,” Michael Needham of Heritage Action said last week.

Freedomworks initially backed Plan B as a negotiating tactic but reversed course last week and, like the Club for Growth, announced it would score votes on the legislation.

“The worst thing that Republicans can do is raise taxes,” Matt Kibbe of Freedomworks said Friday. “If Obama wants to raise taxes he can do that but Republicans shouldn’t give him cover.

“If Obama wants to go over the cliff, let him own that,” Kibbe said.

Roth argued Republicans should be willing to stretch the fight into 2013. Economists argue the ill effects of allowing tax hikes and spending cuts to go into effect will grow over time as more money is taken out of people’s pockets.

“They could take this into the New Year and extract a lot of very pro-growth entitlement reforms but I don’t think they are willing to go that far,” added Roth.

“The best thing we can do is extend the current rates for six to 10 months while we get pro-growth tax reform. The president is the only one who can propose that,” said Kibbe.

Dan Holler of Heritage Action said that Republicans now need to sell Medicare premium support and other bold ideas to get them into a fiscal cliff solution.

“When is the last time you heard Republicans make the case for Medicare premium support? When is the last time you heard Republicans talking about ending cronyism in the tax code? This is what Republicans need to focus on and commit to in the coming weeks and months. Until they do, no deal will be worth cutting,” he said Friday.

ForAmerica Chairman Brent Bozell on Friday released a plan for the GOP that involves it increasing its demands of Obama in fiscal cliff talks.

“Speaker Boehner, working in conjunction with Senate Minority Leader McConnell, should craft legislation that gets us on the road to fiscal sanity. This agenda must include four key items: cutting the corporate tax rate, abolishing the immoral "death tax," real spending cuts, and serious entitlement reforms,” he said in a statement.

“Bring a united GOP front and challenge the president to support this legislation. Offer him the 'millionaire tax' if he will. If he doesn't accept this, it proves he's not serious. At that point the GOP should walk away, declaring it's the president who now owns the impending disaster,” he said.
And while the neo-fascist thugs work that angle, you have purportedly more "mainstream" rightists, like Wyoming wingnut John Barrasso running to Fox claiming that it's Obama who wants to steer the country over the cliff. There's no real reason to pick on poor Barrasso, although he was on Fox News Sunday doing precisely that, because every Republican Member of Congress has been asked to echo the message whenever they get near a live mic. For low-info voters-- the GOP base and Fox viewers-- Barrasso makes sense babbling nonsense like this: "I believe the president is eager to go over the cliff for political purposes. He senses a political victory at the bottom of the cliff."

Another radical right kook, Mick Mulvaney (R-SC), was on CNN's State of the Union Sunday making much the same point, also trying to claim the Democrats have "no interest at all about not going over the cliff... You cannot negotiate with someone who does not want to negotiate." There's a lot of negative crap you can throw at Obama but not being eager to negotiate and even give in too much to the right is NOT something that will stick. And the American people, for better or for worse, know it. Of course, now we're all waiting to hear what drunken, hypocritical Mormon Mike Crapo (R-ID) has to say about all this. How can anyone be expected to decide anything until we hear what 3-term Senator Crapo says?

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