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Allen West Makes (Even More) Sense

From his Facebook status last week:

While you’re wasting time trying to come up with the 100% perfect plan, the enemy is probably going to kick your butt. Keep your eye on the path to victory. If you can come up with the 70-75% plan and execute it well, you can win.

Think how far Obama has been dragged since his first budget in February.  Think how hard it is to turn the country around, and then remember that Republicans only control 1/3 of the federal government — well, 1/3 of the federal power structure; entrenched, mostly Democratic, bureaucrats control everything below that tippy top.  

This is the end of Act One.  Act Two is getting the Senate back.  Act Three is getting the White House back.  

But in the meantime, what we know is that it’s going to be hard — very hard, harder than working with liberal Democrats — to get the majority of the country to agree that we need to spend less, keep taxes low, and trim back the voracious entitlement state.

Not easy.  But I’m happy to have Allen West on the same side.

  1. Tommy De Seno
    C

    70%?  Isn’t that the last passing grade on a test?

    How about I tell my football team to go out on Sunday and attain 70% of their goals?

    If West thinks we got 70% out of the deal, he can’t count anyway.

  2. David John

    Act Four is to turn the courts around. Given Acts One-Three, this will take a cpl decades.

    Act Five is to turn the bureaucracy around. Given Acts One-Four, this will take several decades.

    Good luck!

  3. Ed G.

    Ok, we got dollar for dollar cap increase to spending cuts – except that the cap increase comes immediately while the spending increase cuts may materialize over the next decade. The Democrats got an immediate debt limit increase, a peskily damaging issue off the table until after the 2012 election, and a burnished reputation as moderate compromisers. I don’t see how Republicans got 70% on this deal.

  4. Cunctator

    Back in my clinical medicine days, there used to be a race to normalize blood sugars as quickly as possible in critically ill diabetics. Turns out that wasn’t the best thing for them – if they had slowly got into their situation, it was best to get them back to homeostasis more gently, because their bodies had compensated to their abnormal state. It’s a long winded way of saying that this financial mess has developed over many years – and balancing a budget today would be catastrophic, not just politically but also “in real life”. If the freshmen Tea Partiers can take a longer view, they can get incremental gains that will be significant. Right now they look egotistical and arrogant – yeah, like Democrats. Stand down, keep quiet, be happy – or you’ll lose the support of moderates like me. And – again – Bachmann is done. Her candidacy is finished due to her behavior and statements

  5. EJHill

    Put this on the Steyn-way and play it – From Mark’s Sunday column:

    “As Arthur Herman of the American Enterprise Institute pointed out this week, under present rules, if the government were to announce a spending freeze – that’s to say, no increases, no cuts, everything just stays exactly the same – the Congressional Budget Office would score it as a $9 trillion savings. In real-world terms, there are no “savings,” and there’s certainly no $9 trillion. In fact, there isn’t one thin dime. But nevertheless that’s how it would be measured at the CBO.”

    That’s because of base-line budgeting. The rules of the game have long been “fixed” by the “progressives.”  The left gets everything they wanted, an increase in the debt limit, the budget taken off the table for 2012 and phony cuts they can crow about. Oooo, we changed the tone! But the politicians are still tone-deaf.

  6. Stuart Creque

     Rob, Act Two is the Senate AND the White House, which both are in reach in 2012.

    And the Act Two crisis is finding out whether the new President, Republican Senate and Republican House are really committed to controlling the debt and eliminating deficit spending, or only campaigned on that platform in the knowledge that they could ignore it once in power.

    Act Three is where we resolve the question: will our heroes save America, or will they let her sink under politics and governance as usual?

  7. Rascalfair

    This is neither a schoolboy exercise nor a football game.  At stake here is the future of our country, and small time winnings or losings that lose sight of that aren’t worth savaging each other about. 

    Allen West is a hero by anybody’s calculation, and the idea that he’s some kind of turncoat to be disposed of with the handiness of disparagement, primary’d out of office is ludicrous.  This man gave up his Army career under enemy fire, not rhetorical bullets, saying that he’d walk through Hell with a gas can for his soldiers, and that such a man is on our side is an honor. 

    His strategy seems reasonable to me.  Win what we can, consolidate each victory and attack again.  Nothing prevents our side from proposing true change in the nature of governance, or of budgeting or actual dismantling some of the bureaucracy, and each battle bust be waged as aggressively as possible. 

    Actually, the worst number around isn’t the debt, but that 40% of our citizens who think that O’boy is OK.  That’s the real problem.  Let’s keep our eye on that ball.  Change that, change the world.

     

  8. Aaron Miller

    That Lt. Col. Allen West and Thomas Sowell both ultimately support Boehner’s plan certainly gives me pause. But I’m not yet convinced it does more good than harm, even ignoring the many procedural errors in the approach to this point.

    Rob Long

    …and then remember that Republicans only control 1/3 of the federal government

    The House of Representatives controls appropriations, does it not? I’m far from an expert on the modern budget process, but my understanding is that not every authority of the House is subject to the veto of the President or Senate. If that is the case, why are House Republicans not using that authority to accomplish what they can now?

  9. Stuart Creque
    Erik Larsen: If the freshmen Tea Partiers can take a longer view, they can get incremental gains that will be significant. Right now they look egotistical and arrogant – yeah, like Democrats. Stand down, keep quiet, be happy – or you’ll lose the support of moderates like me.

    Let’s use a different clinical metaphor: a fever.  A fever has a couple of salutary effects: it signals that an infection or inflammation is present, and it can help make the body less hospitable to the infectious agent.  A fever that goes out of control can kill the body.

    The TEA Party Movement has indicated the severity of the inflammation in Federal spending and taxation.  Its heat has helped the political system start to fight the infection.  If it overheats, it can damage the system it’s trying to return to health.

    The TEA Party Movement, however, is far less of a threat than the traditional treatment plan of taking a few debt-ceiling NSAIDs, masking the fever, and letting the infection continue eating away at the body politic.

  10. Crow

    West is making a sensible argument. His letter to his constituents details exactly his thinking on this subject.

    The only thing that will save us in the long run are large changes to the entitlement state.

    Even if we held out for those and didn’t raise the debt ceiling, Obama would not have allowed them. They were not possible in these negotiations.

    Not raising the debt ceiling has real, calculable consequences. Some of these may come to pass regardless, but if a downgrade happens there is no one to blame now but the Democrats who are in power. 

    So, they fought for the cuts they could get passed, which was the right thing to do. 

    He is not arguing this solves the debt problem. It is merely an opening salvo.

  11. Give Me Liberty

    Pray tell Erik, where will you go if the Republican party becomes dominated by TEA Partiers i.e. conservatives?  I agree this disaster must be undone gradually so as to not kill the patient, the nation, but the only change we have gotten is rhetorical. Democrats got what they wanted: a raise in the debt ceiling allowing them to continue their fiscally irresponsible ways. Republicans got a promise of cuts some time in future that experience tells use will not occur.  I don’t know what makes that such a good deal but then again I am not a moderate. To use your analogy of a diabetic, the patient will promise to reduce his or sugar intake 10 years from no if you allow them to add Twinkies to their diet today.  Is that the moderate approach to health?

  12. Stuart Creque
    Ed G.: The Democrats got an immediate debt limit increase, a peskily damaging issue off the table until after the 2012 election, and a burnished reputation as moderate compromisers.

    On the first point: conceded.

    On the second point: actually, this deal makes sure that the issue of the next big debt increase becomes a central issue in the 2012 campaign.  No, there won’t be a debt limit showdown in Congress in the summer of 2012 — but that means that the issue will be injected into the campaign rather than contained in Washington.

    On the third point: what moderate compromise?  The Democrats look more like they capitulated.  It’s certainly how their Lefty base sees it.  And Obama is STILL shouting from the rooftops that he wants tax increases — he wants ‘em, he wants ‘em, he wants ‘em, complete with stomping of the feet.

  13. Aaron Miller
    Erik Larsen: … this financial mess has developed over many years – and balancing a budget today would be catastrophic, not just politically but also “in real life”. If the freshmen Tea Partiers can take a longer view, they can get incremental gains that will be significant. 

    The “long view” ignores the inherent advantages Democrats have and will continue to have.

    It is easier to rack up large debts than to pay them off. It is easier to circumvent laws and the Constitution than to work within their authority. It is easier to create laws, agencies and bureaucracies than to undo them. It is easier to destroy trust with our allies than to regain trust. It is easier to lie, demonize and demagogue than to win people over with truth and virtue.

    Democrats can win twice as much in half the time. Meanwhile, Republicans are still drafting plans that assume Republican majorities decades from now.

    Does that mean Republicans must exercise every last inch of their power at all times? Perhaps not. Perhaps some compromise is necessary to hold voters while our culture is restored.

    But don’t tell me “slow and steady” is a no-brainer.

  14. Southern Pessimist
    Erik Larsen: Back in my clinical medicine days, there used to be a race to normalize blood sugars as quickly as possible in critically ill diabetics. Turns out that wasn’t the best thing for them – if they had slowly got into their situation, it was best to get them back to homeostasis more gently, because their bodies had compensated to their abnormal state. It’s a long winded way of saying that this financial mess has developed over many years – and balancing a budget today would be catastrophic, not just politically but also “in real life”. 

    That is a terrific analogy that resonates with me. However, I don’t think Bachmann and other staunch conservatives are trying to do anything more that controlling the IV glucose that is killing this semi-comatose patient who is dying from acute ketoacidosis. We are a long way from homeostasis.

  15. Dave Roy
    Tommy De Seno: 70%?  Isn’t that the last passing grade on a test?

    How about I tell my football team to go out on Sunday and attain 70% of their goals?

    If West thinks we got 70% out of the deal, he can’t count anyway. · Aug 1 at 10:48am

    I’d say the better analogy is that, if your football team is down 28-7 at halftime, you’re not going able to score 21 points on one play to tie the game up. You have to score one touchdown at a time.

  16. Humza Ahmad
    Sisyphus The Tea Party is a response to the parties of Washington repudiating Burkean government and principles, at the expense of the taxpayers. Burke advocated and introduced measures and arguments to limit governmental authority, applauded the American defense of their rights in the Revolutionary War, arguing that Lord North was attempting to usurp the Americans’ rights as British subjects, an argument that was dangerous to his person and his family in George III’s England.

    Burke would indeed be appalled at the current political discourse, but he would be firmly in the ranks of the Tea Party doing it.

    Burke was also opposed to the populism and mob rule that came with the French Revolution. The American Revolution was spearheaded by statesmen of colonies that had decades of relatively autonomous government behind them. The same could not be said of those who started and continued the French Revolution, nor can it be said of the Tea Party. It is the populism and the swing toward radical, rapid changes on the part of the Tea Party, that has been exhibited in the debt ceiling debate, that perturbs me and is against the moderation and importance of careful consideration of Burke.

  17. Humza Ahmad
    Aaron Miller: I agree with Steyn more often than any other pundit. Like Mark, I think we’re short on time (if not already past the point of no return). · Aug 1 at 12:42pm

    I understand where you’re coming from, but I am not convinced we’re at the point of panic or past the point of no return. Are we headed in the wrong direction? Absolutely, and our pseudo-socialist president and his party are to blame, but does it require the same kind of drastic, immediate, system-smashing action that the Tea Party is calling for? The rhetoric starts to sound like social justice progressives that see a national emergency whenever a single mother gets her hours cut.

    I am beyond pleased that a popular movement to cut spending and reign in the size of government has formed in the United States in response to the frightening expansion of government and the country’s debt under Obama. But true, lasting and meaningful reform can’t happen as quickly as the Tea Party is calling for it. And that’s the problem with populism of this sort; a lack of patience.

  18. Humza Ahmad
    Charles Gordon: [...] just like all the other past bills to increase the ceiling, as our historic first Islamic apostate president pointed out [...]

    Mr. Gordon, is this really necessary? Not only has he claimed that he is not a Muslim (which is enough to convince me), but take the Colin Powell argument: So what if he was a Muslim?

  19. Good Berean
    Humza Ahmad

    Sisyphus  Burke would indeed be appalled at the current political discourse, but he would be firmly in the ranks of the Tea Party doing it.

    Burke was also opposed to the populism and mob rule that came with the French Revolution. The American Revolution was spearheaded by statesmen of colonies that had decades of relatively autonomous government behind them. The same could not be said of those who started and continued the French Revolution, nor can it be said of the Tea Party. It is the populism and the swing toward radical, rapid changes on the part of the Tea Party, that has been exhibited in the debt ceiling debate, that perturbs me and is against the moderation and importance of careful consideration of Burke. · Aug 1 at 1:33pm

    Don’t forget that there were radical elements within the founding cohort: Samuel Adams to name one. Fortunately, the Constitution balances the rapidly changing demands of the ”populists” and the conservativism of the “elites” between the House and the Senate. If we did not have the radical (Latin: radix; root) Tea Party element, populist though it may be, we would be far short of where we are now.

  20. Charles Gordon
    Crow’s Nest: Charles Gordon: Not to put too fine a point on it, but I think we a strategy that resembles Fabius Cunctator more than Leonidas.

    Oh, and about low expectations. To the contrary, friend: we have the chance to be the first continental nation in the developed West to reject endless statism  and refound the modern, 21st century state on conservative principles.

    That seems to me a mission which will certainly require passion, but which also requires perspicacity and sagacity. · Aug 1 at 12:51pm

    This deal is as unserious as the one in March, but it will cause the fall of elephants in the primaries. That will not be delayed.

    In the meantime, the markets are about to turn on us with a fury that will make salted Carthage seem like a sandwich from Heaven.

    The markets may no longer be synchronized with Washington’s dilatory dissimulations, and strike without warning.

    Tea party movement: Faster please.

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