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Contracts are made to be broken

By Michael R. Shannon
web posted April 18, 2011

Conservatives and Tea party voters now know the discount rate on Boehner–led Republican promises is in the neighborhood of 62 percent. This means if Speaker Boehner promises to cut $100 billion from an Obama spending spree while running for office in November, you are going to get no more than $38 billion when he's actually in power in April.

In return for this bait–and–switch, the conservatives are expected to continue voting Republican and Boehner will promise to respect us in the morning.

The Speaker enjoyed the support of over 80 Republican freshmen elected on a pledge to take an axe to spending and he couldn't even eliminate funds for public broadcasting.

This is why politicians and their promises are held in such low esteem: They've earned it.

In an opinion piece in USA Today, Boehner characterizes failure as, "the largest spending cut in history to help begin to create a better environment for private-sector job growth."

The Wall Street Journal establishment view of the proceedings agrees with Speaker Boehner that avoiding a government shutdown was a famous victory: "Yes, we know, $39 billion in spending cuts for 2011 is less than the $61 billion passed by the House and shrinks the overall federal budget by only a little more than 1 percent. The compromise also doesn't repeal ObamaCare, kill the EPA's anti–carbon rules, defund Planned Parenthood, reform the entitlement state, or part the Red Sea…

"Republicans also showed they are able to make the compromises required to govern. We realize that "governing" can often be an excuse for incumbent self-interest. But this early show of political maturity will demonstrate to independents that the freshmen and tea party Republicans they elected in November aren't the yahoos of media lore."

So let me see if I understand this; when those truthful House Republicans, lead by Boehner, stood in front of the Capital and unveiled the Contract with America promising to cut $100 billion dollars from Obama spending they were completely sincere because they were unfamiliar with the concept of "compromise."

They only realized to their shock that "compromises [are] required to govern" after the election when Boehner discovered the concept squirreled away in Nancy Pelosi's old desk among the discarded bobby pins and wrinkle cream tubes.

So conservatives really shouldn't feel used after first being promised $100 billion in cuts, then a pro–rated $61 billion and finally given a $38 billion crumb?

Don't insult my intelligence.

One of two alternatives is true: either GOP leadership had no idea Democrats would oppose $100 billion in cuts and were completely blindsided by this development — which calls their intellect into question — or, more likely, they knew all along there was no chance $100 billion in cuts would pass, but it was a nice round number that gullible conservatives could remember long enough to vote GOP — which calls their integrity into question.  

It's hard to tell who holds the Tea party in greater contempt: Democrats or Republicans.

And, as we've seen in the past, a Republican officeholder only exhibits "maturity" and "grows in office" when he sells out the people who elected him.

I'm really tired of being manipulated by politicians. How about you?

Any successful salesman will tell you the way to keep trust with a client and develop a long­–term relationship is to under promise and over deliver. This is a foreign concept in Washington, DC, where it's over promise and seldom deliver.

But not to worry, we have another chance! The real fight to cut spending is coming up! The Final Battle will either be the vote to raise the debt ceiling or the 2012 budget or maybe both! Conservatives are supposed to believe that every retreat only brings us that much closer to ultimate victory. Yet potential budget cuts are the only place you'll ever see a Democrat exhibit warlike tendencies — as they fight for every nickel.

It's discouraging that Rep. Eric Cantor (R–VA) and Boehner have already unleashed the tried and true GOP tactic of pre­–emptive surrender. Both have said it would be a "fiscal disaster" if Congress does not vote to increase the debt limit, which essentially spikes their main gun before the first shot is fired. All that's left is to negotiate the terms of surrender with Harry Reid.

It's all very depressing. I wonder if conservatives will ever see a time when Republicans fight as hard to save money as Democrats do to spend it?

But in the meantime, I've got to go outside. Lucy wants me to kick the football. ESR

Michael R. Shannon is a public relations, advertising and political consultant with experience around the globe. He is also a popular speaker and can be reached at michael–shannon@comcast.net.


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