The most troubling aspect of the current Republican disarray over the so-called “fiscal cliff” is the lack of strategic planning.
Republicans talk as though solving this challenge will end their problems.
After President Barack Obama extorts taxes in the current negotiations he will have an Inaugural Address, a State of the Union address to a Joint Session of Congress, and then he will submit a budget. Each of these national events will be designed to maximize the president’s support and to set new benchmarks that force the Republicans to choose between their base and other elements of America. The news media will, of course, trumpet President Obama’s proposals and adopt his language.
Beyond the legislative struggles, President Obama will issue a continuing deluge of new Executive Orders and regulations. More than 4,000 new federal regulations are currently in the pipeline — and even more are coming. The inventiveness and aggressiveness of a victorious left wing bureaucracy should not be underestimated.
Over the last two years the Obama team has learned to maximize its impact while stalemated in the legislative arena. That skill will now be exercised with vigor and enthusiasm in every aspect of the federal government.
Some Republicans suggest that surrendering on taxes now will somehow lead to better negotiations with President Obama in the future. They assert that giving the president higher taxes might mellow him and encourage him to offer substantial entitlement reforms later.
Grover Norquist: President Obama is overestimating his mandate
What possible pressure could there be on the president to make greater concessions after he has gotten the increased taxes and spending? If he won’t give it to you to get the taxes he wants, why would he give it to you for nothing?
In fact the exact opposite will happen.
Once House Republicans prove they will cave on taxes, President Obama will assume they will cave on everything. Expanded spending, additional forms of income transfer, greater bureaucracy, weaker defenses, more taxes when the current increases don’t “solve” the deficit.
Some Republicans fantasize that they can draw a stronger line on the debt ceiling than they have on taxes.
The very pressures that are breaking the House GOP on taxes will be mobilized to break their will on the debt ceiling.
The news media will declare them irresponsible. The Senate Democrats will attack them for undermining the national credit. The bankers will publicly demand a debt ceiling fix. The Obama grassroots system will go to work.
Why would anyone believe that the habit of surrender could be reversed on the debt ceiling? A trivial fig leaf will be displayed and the spending will rush onward.
Then the president will demand immediate citizenship for 11,000,000 plus people — no one knows the real number — with no requirements for learning English or American history and no guarantees of honest elections. Republican objections will be dismissed as racist, heartless and reactionary. The entire fight will be designed to infuriate the Republican base and maximize Republican infighting while further alienating Latinos and Asian Americans from Republicans.
Finally, for its goals that cannot be achieved through these efforts, the Obama team will focus on appointing very liberal judges and on using the United Nations. (Note the effort to limit the Second Amendment by a United Nations treaty.)
House Republicans need to lift their eyes from the immediate “fiscal cliff” and design a strategy for coping with, slowing down, and then defeating the overall effort to create a radically different America.
Until they understand the larger strategic fight, they can’t possibly know what to do in the current short-term tactical situation.