Monte Kuligowski
Mr. Speaker: You should have listened to Michele Bachmann
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By Monte Kuligowski
April 15, 2011

In context of a $1.65 trillion deficit and $14 trillion debt, the Republican leadership agreed to a purported $38.5 billion in 2011 cuts. The cuts extract about a drop from the ocean we're drowning in. The federal government will continue to print or borrow approximately 41% of what it spends.

Incidentally, the Boehner-Obama deal leaves 2011 spending $773 billion above the 2008 level.

Unfortunately, the old school Republicans never seem to know how to play the hand they've been dealt. Once again they played a royal flush as if they were holding a pair of jacks.

All the elements were in order for the Pubs to hold the Dems accountable for their two-year spending spree — but, alas, we are again witnessing the characteristic ineptness of the Republican leadership.

First, the Democrats had already neglected their constitutional duty of passing the 2011 budget in 2010 when they had commanding majorities in the House and Senate. Second, the midterms gave the Republicans a clear mandate to block ObamaCare and cut spending with a chainsaw. And, third, a Congressional Research Service report discovered $105 billion scattered throughout the monstrosity that is ObamaCare for unlawful, automatic appropriation in future years.

The timing of the $105 billion discovery couldn't have been better for the Republicans.

Yet, somehow the Republican leadership avoided what was handed to them wrapped and tied with a bow. Somehow, the $105 billion in ObamaCare funding went right over their heads; even though $100 billion was the amount the Republicans had promised to cut.

The Republican leadership should have gotten behind Rep. Michele Bachmann as soon as she began banging the drum over the $105 billion discovered in the bowels of the three-thousand page law — of which not one lawmaker is on record as having read and understood before voting for it.

Via the 2010 midterms, the electorate sent Tea Party conservatives to Congress to take immediate and bold action. If Speaker Boehner had followed Rep. Bachmann's lead the Republicans would have fought the liberals tooth and nail over the $105 billion — and they would have won public approval.

If the entire 2011 budget debate had focused on that one issue, the public would have become outraged upon learning of the deceit of Obama, Pelosi and Reid. Demanding that the $105 billion be returned to the taxpayers should have been the starting point for the budget cuts, period.

The Dems healthcare "reform" was a "crime against democracy," as Bachmann rightly puts it, and the argument over the $105 billion would have drawn attention to the unethical manner in which ObamaCare was rammed through and is being implemented (via selective "waivers" for special interests).

On the demand for the return of the $105 billion, the Republicans could have been more than happy to let the Democrats shut the government down.

Per Obama's old handbook, "Rules for Radicals," targeting and isolating the $105 billion would have left the Dems politically naked with nothing to do but defend their healthcare "reform" that the public never wanted in the first place — which was passed without any bipartisan support; which is currently unconstitutional by judicial order; and which contains $105 billion in unlawful appropriation for future implementation.

Targeting and isolating the $105 billion would have destroyed the Democrat brand and would have sent Obama's polling numbers tumbling.

Unfortunately, the brilliant strategy of the Republican leadership was to ignore the winning issue and instead argue over specific budgetary items to cut.

In so doing, the Dems and their news media machine were able to characterize the Pubs as uncaring SOBs having no empathy for those dependent upon the federal government. The Dems painted the Pubs as "extremists" who were more concerned about their ideology than serious budget cuts. One narrative of the left was that the Republicans would rather argue over defunding Planned Parenthood then work with the Democrats in passing a budget.

Allowing the Dems to recycle their tired old narratives was wholly unnecessary and plain stupid.

As it currently stands, Obama is being portrayed by the press as a great compromiser and deficit slasher.

To save the future, the Pubs had better figure out how to beat the Dems with their strategy and messaging. And acquiring a little fire in the belly wouldn't hurt either.

© Monte Kuligowski

 

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Monte Kuligowski

Monte Kuligowski is an attorney and writer whose legal scholarship, including "Does the Declaration of Independence Pass the Lemon Test?" (Duke Journal of Constitutional Law & Public Policy), has been published in several law journals... (more)

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