Curmudgeon's Corner

cur-mud-geon: anyone who hates hypocrisy and pretense and has the temerity to say so; anyone with the habit of pointing out unpleasant facts in an engaging and humorous manner

Is It Time?

U.S., Political, Economy, Taxes

The troops are growing more restless by the hour, and more and more are actually speaking what had been the unspeakable until recently.  Is it time for the House Republicans to replace John Boehner as Speaker?

Boehner has seemed to be the typical ‘deer in the headlights’ when confronted with the need to find resolution to the current ‘fiscal cliff’ issues.  He makes trips to the White House and, according to many in his caucus comes back with far too little for what he has agreed to give away.

We have to remember that he is confronted with negotiating, such as that is, with President Obama who believes he was given a blank check as the result of being re-elected to his second term.  President Obama has grand plans for his second term and he seems well along that pathway even before his swearing-in ceremony late in January.

The conservative element in the House Republican caucus has been disgruntled with the Speaker for some time.  The Speaker has managed to ride out several mini-storms and has continued as the Speaker.  The mini-storms are growing stronger as the ‘fiscal cliff’ debacle (from a Republican perspective and especially from a conservative Republican perspective) has shown Boehner seemingly incapable of driving home the deal that will please his troops.

It may be that no one would be able to drive home the deal desired given the current environment and the current occupant of the White House.  This is, after all, the way politics work in Chicago and it has been honed to an art form in the past four years on the national stage.  The era of the backroom poker parties where the bourbon flowed freely is long gone from Washington, D.C.  Then Speaker Lyndon Johnson was a great practitioner of that approach to politics.  Many ‘backroom’ deals were hammered out in the wee hours in the bowels of Capitol Building.

The Democrat strategy has aggravated the Republicans and, consequently, there will be more of that same strategy.  Why make a deal when you can cause further anguish to your opposition while not suffering in the polls?  President Obama continues to poll well above the rest of Washington government even though Gallup has him losing a point or two over the current process compared to his previous polling numbers.

Conservative House members have their own dilemma.  If not Boehner, then who? Would Ryan be the choice given his wonkish knowledge of all things fiscal?  Would one of the others-in-waiting be willing to jump into the pit with the lions?  This isn’t as easy as some of us would imagine.  It may be that Boehner will remain Speaker simply because no one else is willing to step in the breech, given the damage that can quickly occur to reputations earned over the years.

One fact remains, however.  This so-called “debate” is critical to the future of our country.  We are truly very, very near the point of no return where we’ll simply be unable to find a politically expedient solution to our addiction to the habit of spending what we don’t have to spend.  It may be that the only adults in the room will be too frightened of the downside for self to take the position and do the tough stuff that will be required.

The frying pan is getting hot enough that some will begin jumping into the fire to get away from the heat.  We are at a turning point in this country and the majority doesn’t seem to realize that simple fact.  Or, the majority realizes it but doesn’t care thinking that somehow we’ll be saved from our predilection to spending beyond our means.

Is it time?

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