Don’t Snatch Defeat from the Jaws of Victory

by Douglas Holtz-Eakin


Hard to believe what I’m reading, hearing, and watching. It’s a concerted, bipartisan effort to snatch defeat when victory is in sight.

Let’s start with the House Democrats who are content to make a political statement and sit on their hands. That means that the Boehner plan must pass with only Republican votes and Democrats don’t care if financial markets melt down tomorrow morning (they will). Defeat for America as they seek their political agenda.

Add to this list the White House. Are they whipping Democrats to vote for the Boehner plan, move a legislative vehicle to the house, soothe financial markets, and work to a better (in their eyes) legislative outcome in the Senate? No, that’s called governing. Instead they are pushing a Reid proposal that will never get 60 votes in the Senate. Defeat again at the expense of the reelection agenda.

Now, about the Senate. Can Harry Reid actually move a piece of legislation, whether from the House Republicans or one of his own? No. The Senate Democrats’ contribution to the week’s efforts has been a letter saying “No way” to a plan that has yet to emerge from the House. Meanwhile, America slides toward meltdown.

And finally, let’s discuss the House Republicans who are standing on the brink of sending to the Senate (who will pass it) and the president (who will sign it) a piece of legislation that is consistent with their principles, if not perfect. Instead of simply voting yes, they have formed a variety of unproductive coalitions: the Coalition of the Willfully Stupid (who claim you don’t need a debt-ceiling increase or that markets won’t care and their will be no fallout) and the Coalition of Its Someone Else’s Problem (because I just want to have an issue and campaign). Result: They suffer a political loss and America loses.

I hope somebody either blinks, or thinks.

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