Now that even the Democrats are acknowledging Ronald Reagan as the gold standard of Presidents, here's a quote of his in reference to the Balanced Budget Amendment:
“Most Americans understand the need for a balanced budget and most have seen how difficult it is for the Congress to withstand the pressures to spend more. … We tried the carrot and it failed. With the stick of a balanced budget amendment, we can stop government’s squandering and overtaxing ways and save our economy.”
In March 2011, eleven Democratic senators voted in favor of a Balanced Budget Amendment. They were: Begich, Bennet, Brown, Carper, Kohl, Lieberman, Manchin, McCaskill, Nelson, Nelson, Udall.
Senate Majority Leader Reid refused to take a vote on the Cut, Cap and Balance bill sent over by the House. Majority Leader Harry Reid is quite pleased with himself. It fell 4 votes short in Senate -- Tester, Manchin, McCaskill, Warner & Ben Nelson fumbled as it was considered for a vote. You notice that three names are in both paragraphs here - Manchin, McCaskill and Nelson voted for a balanced budget amendment in March and now have turned against it. Wonder what would cause that?
The political atmosphere.
Democrats will not go along with a Balanced Budget Amendment, especially with a Democrat in the White House. That is a political reality.
Wednesday, Senator John McCain took to the Senate floor an op-ed from The Wall Street Journal and read aloud some of the text. An article encouraging the more strident of conservatives to take a second look at this demand. Though some of the language used in the piece wasn't helpful - the Hobbits crack was uncalled for in a civil debate - it is worth reading.
Senator John McCain was sounding more like the maverick when he called tea party Republicans "bizarro" for their attempts to oppose raising the debt ceiling agreement if there is no balanced budget amendment included.
"What is really amazing about this is that some members are believing that we can pass a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution in this body with its present representation and that is foolish," the senator said. "That is worse than foolish. That is deceiving many of our constituents."
McCain blasted them for their tactics to try to push through such an amendment. "That is not fair to the American people . . . to hold out and say we will not agree to raising the debt limit until we pass a balanced budget amendment. It's unfair. It's bizarro."
McCain is getting heat from the Tea Party freshmen and others championing them in the House. Nothing new there - these are the folks with whom McCain cannot pass a test that he is conservative enough for them. Never mind that he is a Reagan conservative and socially conservative, too. Any attempt to work with the other side for legislation is considered taboo. Which brings me to the question - what do you think is the political process?
Politics is the art of the possible - and the art of persuasion. The hard truth now is that the GOP only controls part of 1/3 of the government. The Senate and the White House are in the hands of Democrats. I am not telling the Tea Party freshmen to stop trying, but I am asking for some common sense.
To the Tea Party freshmen I would say accept victory. Victory has been accomplished in this debt ceiling debate and the Democrats are livid. The only shot the Democrats have at looking victorious in this battle is to completely tear apart the GOP and especially Speaker Boehner. This cannot be allowed.
Barack Obama has been shown to have absolutely no compass on decision making skills. He'll go along with whatever he thinks will win an issue for himself and for his re-election bid. Speaker Boehner has taken the discussion from the original demand that the legislation be a clean bill - only one on raising the debt ceiling - to spending cuts in relation to spending. Now the issue of a balanced budget amendment has been advanced. That is all good. The balanced budget amendment, however, is for another day.
This is why it is so important to elect a few more Republican senators in 2012. Even if the GOP is not successful in taking back the White House, a GOP led Senate and House of Representatives would be a huge obstacle to the agenda of Barack Obama and much more realistic for the conservative agenda. The balanced budget amendment takes time, too. It has to be ratified by a majority of the states before it can be implemented in Congress.
Change takes time, especially in Washington, D.C. That is the reality of politics. The freshmen are impatient and that is understandable. Many have never held political office and are accustomed to having a more immediate gratification. The Tea Party freshmen have been victorious in re-setting the GOP in their former spending spree and that is a good thing. The lines between the GOP and Democrats are quite clear now.
Speaker Boehner deserves support and encouragement. The GOP must hang together to accomplish fiscal sanity for our nation. Now is not the time to fall apart.