I wrote yesterday about President Obama’s second term and what it was likely to look like. Today, I would like to examine the paths the Republicans in Congress may possibly take as they confront what is largely an unchanged balance of power in Washington. If you listen to the President and his supporters, the election gave them a carte blanche mandate to pass their agenda of taxing the wealthy into oblivion. Obviously, that isn’t the case but there are signs that many Americans believe the reforms that need to be made need to include some form of tax increase on the wealthy. Speaker John Boehner has already signaled he is ready to move forward and has informed his caucus to fall into line, via a conference call.
I have read more than a few different viewpoints on how the Republicans should deal with the situation they are facing in Washington. Some have said Boehner and company should give Obama and company everything they want, loudly proclaiming their opposition to that liberal agenda in the process. That way, the only party that could be blamed when the house burns down is the Democrats and the President.
Others hold the viewpoint that the Republicans should stand their ground and hinder the implementation of the liberal agenda at every possible opportunity. Refuse to fund Obamacare, filibuster in the Senate, and refuse to raise one penny of new taxes.
The most likely scenario will probably contain elements of both contrasting positions. If anything is to be accomplished in Washington, compromises will have to be negotiated. I’m not talking about the compromise the Democrats want, in that the Republicans give them everything, while receiving nothing in return. That includes holding their ground on spending. If we are to see higher taxes on the wealthy, which I’m not at all convinced is a good idea, then we have to have concessions from the Democrats on spending. Again, I’m not talking about the Democrats’ proposal that we raise taxes now and cut spending later, ten years down the road. If they expect us to capitulate on tax increases, then they should cut spending now. Let me state that again. No new taxes unless spending is cut in a meaningful way.
We should also keep in mind that fiscal issues are not the only issues that will be coming up. The homosexuals are already up in arms, demanding President Obama sign an Executive Order about discrimination against them in the workplace. Immigration advocates are making their voices heard and the Republicans have already acknowledged they are willing to compromise on that particualar issue. They are probably correct in that assumption, as they run the risk of further alienating the immigrant community, if they do no. I look for something to happen in that regard soon, probably in 2013.
The Republicans need to understand something. The political reality is that no matter what happens, they are going to be blamed for obstructionism. No matter what kind of compromise is worked out, it will never be enough for some liberals, including those in the media. The Republicans should strap on their hard hats, knowing full well they are about to encounter rough sailing. They are not likely to come through this unscathed. They should choose their path forward carefully.