(Yes, it's been a long time. Politics has a strange way these days of ticking me off.)
Here's a novel concept for Republicans.
Give Obama the $1.6 Trillion in tax cuts that he requests. Hell, make it $1.7T just to show what nice guys we are. Don't put up a fight. Capitulate on it. Create a 4th marginal tax rate at a top end of about $250K and be done with it.
Take the "protect the rich" theme off the table. Remove the class warfare rhetoric from the debate. Pull the curtain back from the great and mighty Oz. Light scarecrow Harry Reid's hair on fire to boot and let Nancy Pelosi melt.
Hold democrat's feet to the fire on spending cuts and improved government efficiency.
I know. George Bush, Sr. lost his job over breaking his "read my lips" pledge. He went first with Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell promising $3 in spending cuts for every $1 Bush agreed to raise, and he didn't deliver. It is alleged Bush Sr lost his interest in governance over being bamboozled like that, muttering something along the lines of "If you can't take people at their word in this town, then what is the point."
That was 1988. Damn near a quarter century of this political gamesmanship has been going on down there and the american people are fed up with the bickering. So give the democrats what they want. Acknowledge they got more of the popular vote as Obama has piously intoned in lectures at the podium in press conferences and then hold democrats accountable for swallowing hard, ticking off THEIR special interest groups and exacting more efficiency out of the government services delivey model.
Republicans control the house. They can set the agenda on the governmental reforms and belt tightening and then dump it in the lap of Harry Reid. Harry Reid calls the shots in the senate, thanks in no small part to the repeated rounds Republicans shot into their feet nominating extreme candidates in senate races where moderate republicans could have taken a seat. Dick Lugar goes down to a dolt calling rape God's Will. McCaskill sneaks out alive based on similar non starting disertation on abortion in cases of rape. Shays in MD loses to a moonbat, ceding another reasonably safe Republican seat in MD. And, of course, Harry Reid got brought back from the dead running against another extreme candidate.
$1.6 Trillion sounds like a lot. It does. But over a ten year span with the structural deficits we have, it is not enough. The need. The true need is for paradigm shifting operating reforms to the way in which we deliver governmental services. We have an economy we lament is transititioning from being manufacturing-intensive to services-intensive. We have leading global services companies in the country who know how to delivery services across disparate geographies with different public policy regulations. We have best practices we can learn from private enterprise to inject into the public sector DNA.
So cede on the tax issue, remove their objections, and hold them accountable for deep governmental reforms and efficiency measurements. If government can push the auto industry to improve their Car Average Fleet Economy (CAFE) standards, or average MPGs per vehicle, then let's take that policy weapon and turn it on government.
Set standards on overhead costs versus net direct benefit to recipients and force government to learn how to deliver more service with less overhead. Force government to rethink their business practices. You cannot point to the other side calling for their sacrifice and their expending political capital with their core constituents if you still stand firm on taxation issues at this point in time.
We have serious, long-term deficits fueled in large part by government transfer programs predicated on woefully dated actuarial tables. We're living longer, period. We have to pay more and expect less. Cede the payments for our top earners and force democrats to determine which constituents they have to confront on expecting less.
I am sure any folks defining themselves as "True Republicans" who are still reading likely deride this as the rantings of RINO. Well, folks, deride all you want. Deride yourself into permanent minority status.
What's the worse that happens? That our leaders come together, make some tough decisions, and we get our fiscal house in order?
Or the democrats fail to come across with the spending cuts the way George Mitchell did?
24 years ago, Bush Sr lost his job over it. This time around, with the public fed up with this steady drum beat of stalemate and bickering, I suspect the public will see it much differently. Make it quite clear to the public. Reference Bush Sr and the risk he took. Point to the seeds that effort planted that helped fuel the Clinton economic recovery. (Note I said HELPED. Not the only reason, but not a non factor, either. Economic turnarounds take time. Obama sold that to the public in 12, so acknowledge the contribution of that effort to the early 1990s economy.)
Besides, to get out of the ditch we have dug with abortion/rape statements, harsh immigration policy suggestions, and socially harsh stances around gay rights not to mention talk of gifts and binders full of women there isn't much more we can screw up.
Desperate times call for desperate measures. Put country ahead of political point scoring. Give the democrats what they want on taxes.
And then remind them to be careful what they wish for, because coming up with the spending cuts will be really hard to do once you can no longer point at the other side and blame them for getting in the way.
Raise your sights, Republicans. Try the high road.
Be the first to compromise. This 24 year game of tug-of-war has got to end. Consciously let go of the rope and see who's standing as a result of it.
Give Obama his $1.6T in tax increases. Make it $1.7T. It's only "fair," after all, right?