Republican retreat — or rout?
Given the expectations raised by the Republican punditocracy — that Mitt Romney was headed for a big victory — the jolt of defeat hit especially hard.
Now, what had seemed to be an orderly retreat has taken on the aspect of a rout, with Beltway Republicans calling for abandonment of fixed positions all along the line.
The party is being urged to shed positions dear to loyalists to win over folks who voted for President Obama. And those who urge the ditching of positions dear to the base are rewarded with indulgent media portrayals as Republican leaders who have “grown.”
But there are two problems with this panicky reaction to defeat.
First, while the defections depress and dishearten the faithful, they rarely attract the disbelievers whom the switch is designed to appease. Second, such maneuvers are the indelible mark of the opportunist.
Which bring us to John Boehner's concessions to Obama to save us from going over the fiscal cliff.
Though a tax increase would violate party principle and a commitment to constituents just a month ago, Boehner has offered Obama $800 billion in new tax revenues.
Yet, though Boehner is capitulating, the White House has backhanded his offer. The Clinton tax rates on the rich must be restored or no deal, says Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner. The purpose here? Rub Republican noses in their capitulation and force a rupture within their party.
While the administration could reap far more revenue by capping and cutting deductions, an increase in tax rates would be such a transparent surrender that it would cause a rebellion in the House and demoralize the conservatives.
Why, then, are Republicans still bearing gifts to Obama, with a few even pushing for concessions on tax rates?
They are terrified of the fiscal cliff, and understandably so.
For if we go over, taxes will rise on every family, and polls say the people will hold Republicans responsible.
And if we go over the cliff and taxes rise on everyone, the first order of business of Obama in the New Year will be to push a tax cut for the 98 percent of Americans who earn less than $250,000. His second move will be to reverse the damage done to the national defense by the sequester.
At the end of the Battle of the Fiscal Cliff, the GOP may be left in the position of the lady who sold her virtue — and didn't get paid.
If Republicans cut a deal on tax hikes to prevent going over the cliff, they look like collaborators. If they refuse to cut a deal, the Bush tax cuts are history and the GOP will be forced to enact the new “Obama tax cuts.”
The Republican Party seems close to the end of its tether.
Party elites want to go silent on social issues, while the base believes they define who we are. The base wants no part of wars on Syria or Iran being pushed by leading Senate Republicans.
Now a GOP House elected to hold the line on taxes is offering new tax revenues and perhaps higher tax rates to fund the biggest Big Government in history. The GOP is close to reassuming its role as the tax collector for the welfare state.
Meanwhile, the New Majority coalition is passing on, and the era of Reagan is over for good. The party needs new ideas and leaders other than the ones who brought Republicans to this dead end.
Pat Buchanan is the author of “Suicide of a Superpower: Will America Survive to 2025?”
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Steelers veteran linebacker Harrison focused on stretch run
- Friends, family, history lure natives back to Western Pennsylvania
- Crosby scores twice, Malkin delivers OT goal as Penguins beat Blues
- Steelers notebook: Tomlin ends practice with third-down work
- Pirates sign free agent 1B-OF Goebbert, RHP Webster
- Penguins co-owner Lemieux snuffs rumored rift with Crosby
- Starkey: Artie Rowell’s incredible odyssey
- Emotional send-off awaits Pitt seniors
- Artis leads Pitt to lopsided victory over Cornell
- Online sales, promotions give Pittsburgh-area stores global reach
- Puppies’ eyes glued shut, South Huntingdon animal shelter says