Thursday, December 12, 2013

Republicans --- gasp --- negotiate a budget deal!

In a hopeful display of sanity, Republican House deficit hawk Paul Ryan successfully negotiated a budget deal with Senate Democratic liberal Patty Murray.  And then he and Speaker of the House, John Boehner, sold it to House Republicans.  

They did this in order to avoid another suicidal attempt to shut down the government or default on American debt.  They did this to try to undo some of the damage created the last time they shut down the government and threatened a government default.  They did this to try to demonstrate that they were actually capable of governing the country, that is, actually capable of committing acts of politics, that is, actually capable of negotiating, compromising, cutting a deal, that is actually acting like grown ups rather than adolescent absolutists unwilling to see beyond their own ideological imperatives.

Wow. This might be the first sign of Republican sanity since the Tea Party took over the Republican Party in 2010.  

Apparently, and not unexpectedly, the expected hard core conservative activist organizations - Heritage Action, Americans for Prosperity, and Club for Growth - tried to pressure Republicans to oppose the Ryan-Murray deal.  But, as John Boehner so eloquently exclaimed:

"You mean the groups that came out and opposed it before they even saw it?  ... They - they're using our members and their using the American People for their own goals, this is ridiculous!"

The Speaker's long standing patience with the extremists of his party seems to have finally come to an end. His outburst seems to have allowed House Republicans to join in open defiance of the threats from the Tea Party vigilantes.  

Republicans may actually start moving away from the grip of talk radio and the hard core activist organizations.  I believe they need to in order to survive.  

The details of the deal are fairly minor, but the deal itself could well be momentous.  As Dana Milbank wrote:

"And yet Ryan achieved something monumental this week: He persuaded his fellow conservatives to compromise,..."

And as Ryan said:

“We understand in this divided government, we’re not going to get everything we want.”

Wow.  There is hope for this government yet.  What the heck, the Republican Party might even survive the assaults from their extremist wing Tea Party.