Saturday, December 28, 2013

Expecting a Different Result

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

The insanity that is the Congress of the United States of America continues.......

Well, after more than 5 years of Continuing Resolutions we finally have a "bipartisan" budget agreement.  Problem is, it's a sellout of promises made earlier to stand on the principle that federal spending needs to be curbed.

It's the usual story.  The Republicans agreed to Democrat demands for increased spending (in this case, an easing of the spending cuts mandated by the sequester) in return for future reductions in spending.  Haven't we seen this movie before?  In order avoid potentially being labeled as "against the poor" by cutting funding for social programs, the Republicans compromised the principles they were elected on.  Future spending decreases never seem to materialize.

Establishment Republicans insist that this deal was necessary and will enhance electoral chances in 2014 and 2016.  It avoids a government shutdown for 2 years, taking a potential talking point away from Democrats.  Since when have Democrats relied on reality when leveling charges against Republicans?  Besides, the budget deal doesn't address the two biggest upcoming financial battles:  the extension of federal unemployment benefits and the debt ceiling.  Does anyone believe for a minute that these issues won't factor into the next two national elections regardless of the ultimate result of the debates?

Barack Obama has said that he will not negotiate with Republicans over the raising of the debt ceiling next year and Nancy Pelosi has already said that the priority of the next Congress should be the extension of unemployment benefits.  So, for all the triumphant declarations by establishment Republicans over the bipartisan budget deal, it's all going to go for naught.  After the first of the year we will be subjected to frequent news reports of the division between Democrats, who want an open-ended promise to continue to fund benefits without conditions, and Republicans, who insist that any future expansion of spending be offset by reductions elsewhere in the budget.  Calls for fiscal responsibility will be met with accusations of callousness towards the needy, and Republicans will (again) be faced with the choice of standing by their stated principles of fiscal responsibility or caving to Progressive Democrat demands in an attempt to avoid pissing off some "essential voting demographic".

The steps of the dance never change, the song remains the same, and We the People always end up paying the piper.

If the Republicans were serious about "re-branding", about re-establishing their relevance, they'd realize that voting contrary to the values and desires of their constituents is counter-productive to their stated goal of regaining political dominance.  No one is going to support any political party if they don't believe they can rely on their commitment to the principles of their constituency.

However, if Republicans keep faith with the people they were elected to represent, they will earn the loyalty of their voters.  Even if it costs them electorally in the short term, adherence to the principle of a smaller, limited government that lives within the means of it's citizens and takes as it's primary duty the preservation of individual rights, NOT the assumption of extra-constitutional powers aimed at controlling and regulating the lives of individuals (for their own good, of course) they will begin to regain the respect and support of constitutional conservatives and maybe even some Democrats (the more responsible ones, anyway).

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