Why Giving Republican Bullies a Bloody Nose Isn't Enough
Posted in the Minneapolis Forum
#1 Oct 14, 2013
Now is the time to lance the boil of Republican extremism once and for all.
Since Barack Obama became president, the extremists who have taken over the Republican Party have escalated their demands every time he's caved, using the entire government of the United States as their bargaining chit.
In 2010 he agreed to extend all of the Bush tax cuts through the end of 2012. Were they satisfied? Of course not.
In the summer of 2011, goaded by an influx of Tea Partiers, they demanded huge spending cuts in return for raising the debt ceiling. In response, the President offered an overly-generous $4 trillion "Grand Bargain," including cuts in Social Security and Medicare and whopping cuts in domestic spending (bringing it to its lowest level as a share of gross domestic product in over half a century).
Were Republicans content? No. When they demanded more, Obama agreed to a Super Committee to find bigger cuts, and if the Super Committee failed, a "sequester" that would automatically and indiscriminately slice everything in the federal budget except Social Security and Medicare.
Not even Obama's re-election put a damper on their increasing demands. By the end of 2012, they insisted that the Bush tax cuts be permanently extended or the nation would go over the "fiscal cliff." Once again, Obama caved, agreeing to permanently extend the Bush tax cuts for incomes up to $400,000.
Early this year, after the sequester went into effect, Republicans demanded even bigger spending cuts. Obama offered more cuts in Medicare and a "chained CPI" to reduce Social Security payments, in exchange for Republican concessions on taxes.
Refusing the offer, and seemingly delirious with their power to hold the nation hostage, they demanded that the Affordable Care Act be repealed as a condition for funding the government and again raising the debt ceiling.
This time, though, Obama didn't cave -- at least, not yet.
The government is shuttered and the nation is on the verge of defaulting on its debts. But public opinion has turned sharply against the Republican Party. And the GOP's corporate and Wall Street backers are threatening to de-fund it.
Suddenly the Republicans are acting like the school-yard bully who terrorized the playground but finally got punched in the face. They're in shock. They're humiliated. They're trying to come up with ways of saving face.
With bloodied nose, House Republicans are running home. They've abruptly turned negotiations over to their Senate colleagues.
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