There are several pressing issues confronting the routed Republican congressional cadre as it recovers from its “fiscal cliff” defeat and prepares to do battle in two months time over raising the debt ceiling, already in nose bleed territory (“Tax hike deal Obama’s first or GOP’s last?” Thursday, Page 1).
Republicans are terribly weakened by their failure to accomplish anything substantive on the spending-cut side of the ledger in the just-concluded fiscal cliff negotiations. We recognize that it is not easy to deal with a re-elected president dripping with derision for his political opponents and acting more like a neighborhood clubhouse politician than a national leader actively seeking compromise. We also recognize that President Obama, smelling the rank odor of Republican weakness and having marshaled the mainstream media behind him, has no reason to even engage in debt ceiling talks, or so he says. He is awaiting complete capitulation by a chastened GOP as it licks its wounds and wonders whether its leader, House Speaker John Boehner, only now recovering his voice after a beatdown from his own raucous caucus over his failed “Plan B,” can muster a unified opposition to extract spending cuts in exchange for a debt-ceiling increase.
These are perilous times for our nation — times that call for bold leadership and opposition unity. Those of us repelled by improvident governance call on Republican leaders to restore fiscal sanity in our nation’s capital.