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07-19-2011, 01:24 PM
The Road Not Taken
Published: July 18, 2011

Over the past months, Republicans enjoyed enormous advantages. Opinion polls showed that voters are eager to reduce the federal debt, and they want to do it mostly but not entirely through spending cuts.

There was a Democratic president eager to move to the center. He floated certain ideas that would be normally unheard of from a Democrat. According to widespread reports, White House officials talked about raising the Medicare eligibility age, cutting Social Security by changing the inflation index, freezing domestic discretionary spending and offering to pre-empt the end of the Bush tax cuts in exchange for a broad tax-reform process.

The Democratic offers were slippery, and President Obama didnít put them in writing. But John Boehner, the House speaker, thought they were serious. The liberal activists thought they were alarmingly serious. I can tell you from my reporting that White House officials took them seriously.

The combined effect would have been to reduce the size of government by $3 trillion over a decade. Thatís a number roughly three times larger than the cost of the Obama health care law. It also would have brutally fractured the Democratic Party.

But the Republican Party decided not to pursue this deal, or even seriously consider it. Instead what happened was this: Conservatives told themselves how steadfast they were being for a few weeks. Then morale crumbled.

This week, Republicans will probably pass a balanced budget Constitutional amendment that has zero chance of becoming law. Then they may end up clinging to a no mŠs Senate compromise. This proposal would pocket cuts that have already been agreed on, and it would eliminate leverage for future cuts and make them less likely.

It could be that this has been a glorious moment in Republican history. It could be that having persuaded independents that they are a prudent party, Republicans will sweep the next election. Controlling the White House and Congress, perhaps they will have the guts to cut Medicare unilaterally, reform the welfare state and herald in an era of conservative greatness.

But itís much more likely that Republicans will come to regret this missed opportunity. So let us pause to identify the people who decided not to seize the chance to usher in the largest cut in the size of government in American history. They fall into a few categories:

The Beltway Bandits. American conservatism now has a rich network of Washington interest groups adept at arousing elderly donors and attracting rich lobbying contracts. For example, Grover Norquist of Americans for Tax Reform has been instrumental in every recent G.O.P. setback. He was a Newt Gingrich strategist in the 1990s, a major Jack Abramoff companion in the 2000s and he enforced the no-compromise orthodoxy that binds the party today.

Norquist is the Zelig of Republican catastrophe. His method is always the same. He enforces rigid ultimatums that make governance, or even thinking, impossible.

The Big Government Blowhards. The talk-radio jocks are not in the business of promoting conservative governance. They are in the business of building an audience by stroking the pleasure centers of their listeners.

They mostly give pseudo Crispinís Day speeches to battalions of the like-minded from the safety of the conservative ghetto. To keep audience share, they need to portray politics as a cataclysmic, Manichaean struggle. A series of compromises that steadily advance conservative aims would muddy their story lines and be death to their ratings.

The Show Horses. Republicans now have a group of political celebrities who are marvelously uninterested in actually producing results. Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann produce tweets, not laws. They have created a climate in which purity is prized over practicality.

The Permanent Campaigners. For many legislators, the purpose of being in Congress is not to pass laws. Itís to create clear contrasts you can take into the next election campaign. Itís not to take responsibility for the state of the country and make it better. Itís to pass responsibility onto the other party and force them to take as many difficult votes as possible.

All of these groups share the same mentality. They do not see politics as the art of the possible. They do not believe in seizing opportunities to make steady, messy progress toward conservative goals. They believe that politics is a cataclysmic struggle. They believe that if they can remain pure in their faith then someday their party will win a total and permanent victory over its foes. They believe they are Gods of the New Dawn.

Fortunately, there are still practical conservatives in the G.O.P., who believe in results, who believe in intelligent compromise. If people someday decide the events of the past weeks have been a debacle, then practical conservatives may regain control.

A version of this op-ed appeared in print on July 19, 2011, on page A23 of the New York edition with the headline: The Road Not Taken.


07-19-2011, 01:53 PM
The Permanent Campaigners....It’s not to take responsibility for the state of the country and make it better. It’s to pass responsibility onto the other party and force them to take as many difficult votes as possible.

This sounds familiar.

07-19-2011, 02:03 PM
The Road Not Taken
By DAVID BROOKSPublished: July 18, 2011


I prefer Robert Frost's version much more~

07-19-2011, 02:18 PM
And in reality world.....http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/elections/election_2012/election_2012_presidential_election/generic_presidential_ballot/election_2012_generic_presidential_ballot
(Rasmussen) — President Obama now earns his lowest level of support yet against a generic Republican candidate in a hypothetical 2012 election matchup.

The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that a generic Republican earns support from 47% of Likely Voters, while the president picks up 41% of the vote. Four percent (4%) favor some other candidate, and eight percent (8%) are undecided.

Last week, the generic Republican received 48% of the vote, the highest level of support yet, while the incumbent earned 43%. The GOP candidate has now out polled the president in eight of 11 surveys conducted weekly since early May. Prior to this survey, the Republican has earned 43% to 48% of the vote, while support for the president has ranged from 42% to 45%. Rasmussen Reports will provide new data on this generic matchup each week until the field of prospective Republican nominees narrows to a few serious contenders.

In the Generic Congressional Ballot, Republicans hold a six-point lead over Democrats for the week ending Sunday, July 17. The GOP has led on the ballot every week since June 2009.

07-19-2011, 02:29 PM
David Brooks LMAO A RINO for sure:thumb:

07-19-2011, 02:55 PM
Beltway Bandits: Lobbyists
Big Government Blowhards - Radio/television talking heads
The Show Horses - Palin is not in Congress, Bachmann he may have a point about
The Permanent Campaigners - I thought this article was about Republican Congresscritters, not Obama

So in naming names, we see there are very few names and most of his categories are not even people directly involved in the discussion. But this is the premise of the article, that these are why this is not getting done? Color me confused. :huh:

07-19-2011, 04:19 PM
A wasted article .......

07-19-2011, 04:24 PM
A wasted article ......./didn't read it


07-19-2011, 04:38 PM
David Brooks LMAO A RINO for sure:thumb:

You and the tea party going to vote the RINOs out?

07-19-2011, 04:42 PM
Ah! David Brooks.

The guy amnorix swears he never heard of.

KC native
07-19-2011, 05:47 PM
Ah! David Brooks.

The guy amnorix swears he never heard of.

How many times are you going to get banned and then come back? Shitty is tom c@sh redux.