Inside the Beltway: Walking the slow walk

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If women were managing the “fiscal cliff” negotiations, things would be in order, according to one female lawmaker. “I think if we were in charge of the Senate and of the administration that we would have a budget deal by now. What I find is, with all due deference to our male colleagues, that women’s styles tend to be more collaborative,” says Sen. Susan M. Collins, Maine Republican, in an upcoming ABC News interview that won’t air until Jan. 3.

Could she be alluding to the meandering mentality that’s afoot among Capitol Hill menfolk? Indeed, “slow walk” is the operative phrase of choice among Republicans dueling Democrats over the fiscal cliff and its onrushing deadline.

There are alternatives to the term, though. The officials in question also could say “run out the clock” or “spin the wheel,” for example. “Dither” has a certain ring to it.

Republicans still favor the proverbial walk. In the past 48 hours, House Speaker John A. Boehner has twice accused the White House of walking a “slow walk” up the cliff in question, at the nation’s peril. “The president seems to be walking us ever so slowly toward the cliff,” suggested House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia in an appearance with Mr. Boehner on Wednesday. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, however, broke some ground at the same event, noting, “The clock is ticking, and we’re running out of time.”

Democrats, meanwhile, seek to steer the metaphors to their own advantage. “I’m getting increasingly concerned that one of the reasons the speaker is deciding to string out these discussions is that he wants to wait until Jan. 3 when the election for speaker takes place,” Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland told reporters at a press breakfast.

CALL TO ARMS

“The Democrat leadership wants to ‘fundamentally change’ America. They want to increase federal power, federal spending, federal taxes, federal deficits, and federal debt. They want to give more advantages to their liberal allies and put more federal money into the pockets of their political cronies. They want to undermine further traditional values and to surrender more of our national sovereignty to international bodies. They want to weaken our country militarily and move America more rapidly in the direction of European socialism.

“Their entire leftist agenda opposes the principles on which you ran and the principles of the millions of people who elected Republicans to Congress. And now we count on you to stop them. Nobody else can stop them but you. You have the power, if you will use it. The whole leftist apparatus is gearing up to panic you and to force you to cave in. Don’t do it.”

“All of them, the liberal Democrats, the labor unions, the leftist ideologues in the so-called ‘progressive’ movement, and their allies in the print, broadcast, and online media will try to convince you that your political careers will be over if you don’t cave in.”

(From an open letter to U.S. House and Senate members signed by 139 conservative leaders, including American Conservative Union President Al Cardenas, Citizens United President David N. Bossie, Eagle Forum President Phyllis Schlafly and American Values President Gary Bauer.

BUMPER PATROL

“I fell off the fiscal cliff and hurt my assets.”

“Merry Cliff Mess”

“The Fiscal Cliff: It’s another Obama con game.”

- (New bumper stickers from Zazzle.com)

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