Marc A. Thiessen, writing in the Washington Post, urges the GOP to act more like its chief antagonist, President Obama. First, the President put forward a questionable stimulus package (which all indicators seem to show, didn’t work). He did so over a chorus of objections from the minority party. But he held fast. Next, the President pushed a massive (and arguably far too costly) health care reform. At the time, the GOP (and America) was stoutly against
Obamacare, and offered a high-profile rebuke of his planned policies by electing Scott Brown (in Massachusetts of all places). What did he do? He pushed it through anyway. Eventually, he was rebuffed in 2010 when the house was taken over by the GOP in a history defeat which made 1994 seem mild. No matter, President Obama pushed forward. (Perhaps there’s something to that motto of his: “Forward.”) Whether you agree with his principals or not, Obama sticks to them…come what may. Marc Thiessen says that this pattern should be followed by the GOP in the looming budgetary fights:
Republicans should take a page from Obama’s playbook, do what they think is right, use all the leverage at their disposal and stop worrying about the electoral consequences. If they learn anything from Obama’s victories, it should be this: Voters reward conviction politicians who fight for what they believe in — even when they disagree with them. Pandering does not work.
The GOP’s next test comes in a few weeks time, when the deadline to raise the debt limit is reached. Democrats are gearing up to demand $1 trillion in new taxes as the price for any spending reductions. Republican leaders have said that they will not accept any more tax increases, [period — and that spending cuts are the price for a debt-limit increase.
Obama will be forgiven if he sees this as a bluff. Let’s hope he is wrong.
In the last debtlimit showdown, Republicans set an important benchmark with the “Boehner rule” — requiring at least one dollar in spending cuts for every dollar in debt limit increase. This is the absolute floor of what the GOP should demand. Unlike the fiscal-cliff standoff, Republicans hold all the leverage in the debt-limit fight — because Obama cannot allow the country to default. Republicans should emulate Obama and use their leverage without hesitation — demanding deep spending cuts and structural reforms to entitlements as the price for any increase in borrowing authority.
Make no mistake: If the roles were reversed, Obama would not hesitate to use the threat of default to break his political opposition. He didn’t flinch from using the threat of a recession to force Republicans to break their no-tax pledge. He didn’t hesitate to use arcane parliamentary strong-arm tactics to pass Obamacare. Obama uses every ounce of political power at his disposal to get what he wants. It’s admirable, really. He has core beliefs and is willing to put everything on the line for them.
It’s time that Republicans did the same. If the GOP wants a path out of the political wilderness, they should start acting more like the current occupant of the Oval Office.