“Et tu, GOP?” tweeted writer and comedian Stephen Kruiser upon watching the Republicans cave to President Obama’s so-called “fiscal cliff” tax and spending hikes. “Kidding, I knew you had the knife.”
Disappointment doesn’t quite capture the essence of how grass-roots conservatives feel right now about the feckless Republicans on Capitol Hill. Disappointment, after all, can only exist when one’s expectations go unfulfilled. Conservatives are not delusional enough to expect Republicans in Washington to actually mount an effective countercampaign to the Democrats’ unrelenting march toward total government rule. What GOP voters are experiencing is not disappointment so much as a noxious amalgam of exasperation, aggravation and nausea.
I marvel at Republicans’ inability to expose — or perhaps even recognize — the abject absurdity of Democrats during this entire fiscal cliff debacle. For over a decade, Democrats have cried that President George W. Bush’s tax cuts are the root of all economic evil, that they caused the 2008 recession and exploded our debt. Now they demand that 99 percent of those tax cuts be reinstated?
The Democrats’ endlessly repeated phrase, “Bush tax cuts for the rich,” has become the party’s mantra. Then, without batting an eye, they admit that it was all a lie as they demand we reinstate the 99 percent of Bush’s tax cuts that were for the middle class.
Are there no Republicans capable of exposing these duplicitous Democrats? Perhaps we can enlist a few junior high school kids to teach the GOP how to perform YouTube video searches of their adversaries to expose the breathtaking hypocrisy of being against the Bush tax cuts before they were for them. Remember Ross Perot and his charts? How about this: Take an iPad to every interview, queued up with the previous anti-Bush tax cut statements made by your opponents (both the Democrat and the interviewer — I know, it’s redundant). Expose them. Force them to debate themselves.
The recently departed Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf reportedly once said of our French allies: “Going to war without France is like going deer hunting without your accordion.” After watching this fiscal cliff debate, I’d like to nominate the congressional Republicans for a Norman Schwarzkopf Accordion Award.
In this sad milieu of caving Republicans, you’ll find what’s the matter — and what’s right — with Kansas. It offers a lesson for all of America.
Kansas’ entrenched Republican senators, Pat Roberts and Jerry Moran, both supported President Obama’s tax-hiking, pork-laden fiscal cliff plan. Unleashing Obamacare tactics, these senators voted under the cover of darkness for a 154-page bill without even reading it. The Senate vote occurred three minutes after the bill was delivered to them, allowing less than 1.2 seconds to study each page.
It turns out our speed-reading senators failed to stop increased payroll taxes that will hit 77 percent of U.S. households. They also supported subsidies for everything from overseas rum producers to Hollywood moviemakers and aspiring algae growers. They claimed the plan will cut $15 billion in spending — over a decade. For a government that spends $10 billion a day, that’s not even sofa change.
As Iowahawk blogger David Burge explains, this is a two-pack-a-day smoker promising to cut out five cigarettes per year. Really, it’s not even that. Later, after the hasty vote, the Congressional Budget Office determined that the bill actually increased spending by $330 billion. So the Washington solution to our spending crisis is — drumroll — more spending. Who knew?
Mr. Roberts added insult to injury by calling this $600 billion tax hike “tax relief.” This is what happens when you spend three decades in Washington: Up becomes down, down becomes up and a $600 billion increased tax burden on 77 percent of households becomes “tax relief.” What’s more, Mr. Roberts also claimed he would “now focus on spending cuts.” Sure, and Lindsay Lohan will now focus on sobriety. Why didn’t he focus on the $330 billion in increased spending and just vote no?
There’s still something right about Kansas in this fiscal cliff debacle, though. The entire Kansas House delegation — Reps. Tim Huelskamp, Lynn Jenkins, Kevin Yoder and Mike Pompeo — all voted against the Democrats’ tax and spending hikes. Three freshman and a sophomore, with average time in Washington of two-and-a-half years, these representatives had the courage to stand on the side of Kansans and common sense.
Compare that to Mr. Roberts and Mr. Moran with their combined 46 years in Washington (31 years for Mr. Roberts and 15 years for Mr. Moran), who remind us that something has gone terribly wrong with the American principle of a citizen legislature. An entrenched ruling class, of either party, is simply not good for the country.
We’re Kansans. We’re Americans. We want our steaks hot, our beers cold and our politicians — temporary.
Dr. Milton R. Wolf, a Washington Times columnist, is a radiologist and President Obama’s cousin. He blogs at miltonwolf.com.