Warner Todd Huston
Budget victory: all right, tea partiers, time to stop whining and learn politics
By Warner Todd Huston
April 10, 2011

Sorry Tea Partiers, but the GOP won this budget battle despite that you didn't get all you wanted, this was a major GOP win. In fact, treating it otherwise endangers further cuts and bigger budget wins. If the drive to cut the budget stops now, it might be YOUR fault!

What is that you say? Gosh, we only got a paltry $38.5 billion in cuts? You say this is a loss because we were promised $100 billion and even that is a drop in the bucket with a budget trillions overspent?

Yes, your laments are all true to a degree. And here's the "but" you know is coming...

...but it's time for you Tea Partiers to grow up and learn a little something about reality and politics. Oh, you can scrunch your face up all you want over that dirty word, "politics." But you'd better come to learn, it, live it, and love it if you really want to keep your influence and continue pushing the government down this new path to the budget cuts.

Yes, you can be sure that the loud-mouths on talk radio are going to assault you on Monday with cries of "it's a failure, it's not enough." They are even a little right on this. But if you allow their caterwauling to cause you to throw up your hands, imagine that the GOP has failed you, and then stampede for some looser third party — or even not voting at all — YOU will become the reason we've failed.

OK, enough of my hectoring. Here is why you should be proud of your efforts thus far, you should congratulate the GOP, and you should then redouble your efforts to cut even more in the forthcoming negotiations of the late-in-coming full budget.

First of all, though, I have to say why you should stop whining about losing this budget battle and start congratulating Boehner and the GOP. Every single Tea Partier that is heard calling the GOP a failure does two things. Number one it gives a sound bite to happy Old Media outlets that want to portray the right as fractured and sinking fast. That is the tale they want to tell voters just ahead of the 2012 elections. They dearly want to see a GOP that is falling apart. Don't give them that. Number two it discourages less conservative Republicans on the Hill to abandon you and to stop bothering to listen to you. Smack them in the nose with a rolled up newspaper now and you will engender resentment, not future cooperation.

You see, what will happen if you begin calling the GOP failures and traitors is that they won't get scared into working harder. They will think that there is no satisfying you and they will begin to ignore you. Your strategy now should be to offer gentle praise for the GOP, claim this as the victory that it is and then remind your representatives that this is just the beginning and you expect more.

The fact is, the Democrats only won on a few small points here. Remember, President Obama's budget plan increased spending by $40 billion but he was just forced to swallow cuts of $38.5 billion! This is a major rebuke of the President's ideas.

Also remember that Senate Democrat Majority Leader Harry Reid wanted no cuts at all. He was also forced to swallow $38.5 billion in cuts.

Next remember that Boehner only asked for $32 billion when all this started. You Tea Partiers and your newly elected representatives successfully bumped that up to $61 billion and by Friday we ended up getting $6.5 billion more than Leader Boehner even started with.

In the scheme of things, the way politics actually works these are major victories.

Remember these three important facts. One, the GOP only controls one small part of the federal government but was able to force the president, the Senate and their Democrat House colleagues to acquiesce. This is pretty incredible. Second, remember that this budget we are talking about is the remainder of the budget that the Democrats failed to pass last year even when they controlled the whole of federal government. Third, and most important, our system is made to work slowly. The founders did not want major, whopping changes to occur all at once. Giant policy swings were something they hated and the reason the GOIP won in 2010 was the monstrous overreach that Obama and his left-wing Democrats made after winning in 2008. We can't risk repeating his error.

Now, with all the Democrats whining that the Republicans were "radical," and "evil" for their proposed cuts, the Dems have had to cave in. They did get Boehner to drop his elimination of funding for NPR, Planned Parenthood, and the EPA, but guess what? We can put these cuts right back into the mix in just a few weeks time. This was not a major concession. Just a temporary one.

The final point to remember here is that this particular budget battle was only the budget for the remainder of this fiscal year. The debate over the next full budget will start in but a few weeks time. We have the opportunity to get even more concessions and we have the potential to win even bigger very, very soon.

It really is a major shift in the thinking of Washington politics that we are witnessing, and a welcome one at that. This is the first time in 100 years that the discussion in Washington is not about how much we are going to hike spending, but how much we are going to cut it. If you don't understand what a major shift this is, then you simply aren't informed enough about our recent history.

Your zeal to cut the budget, slash spending, and bring some fiscal sanity to Washington is — if I might steal a Charlie Sheenism — winning. Don't lose your resolve now, but don't over react, either. Future cuts are in your hands. Time to grow up, act like an adult, stop the ranting, and get down to business. Time to learn how politics works.

Make NO mistake about it. This IS a Tea Party win.

© Warner Todd Huston


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Warner Todd Huston

Warner Todd Huston's thoughtful commentary, sometimes irreverent often historically based, is featured on many websites... (more)

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