Jack Ohman (Tribune) scores what I guess you could call a “pen drop” with this summation of the deal struck between Joe Biden and Kevin McCarthy. While the President and the Speaker reached what used to be considered a sensible compromise on the debt ceiling and coming budget, they’re both surrounded by problems.
And Ohman offers an insightful pairing: McCarthy is swarmed with the mad dogs of the Freedom Caucus while Biden deals with challenge of herding progressive cats. Each is going to have to pray for either a miracle in taming their extremists or, more likely, that enough other, more pragmatic legislators will recognize and accept the deal to get it through both houses and into law.
Like Ohman, Paul Fell approaches the problem in a bipartisan manner, seeing resistance from purists on both sides of the aisle, but, rather than analyzing each side’s objections, he simply depicts Congress as a pig who, despite wallowing in filth, has suddenly become unaccountably — perhaps irrationally — choosy.
Lisa Benson (Counterpoint) also takes a bipartisan view, but instead of criticizing both sides for refusing the compromise, she uses the cliche of “kicking the can down the road” to blame them both for not coming up with a purist solution that would eliminate the national debt, perhaps at the cost of our national credit rating.
As it happens, eliminating the national debt was a goal of Reagan Republicans a generation ago, and Fox News, while running plenty of opposition to the deal, also offers an essay from Newt Gingrich, urging passage of the proposal and laying out his reasoning in some detail.
It’s doubtful many MAGAts remember when Gingiich was Speaker and when, as a Republican stalwart, he acted as a tail suppressing Bill Clinton’s kite, but it’s even more doubtful that his reasoning would be persuasive, since old school Reagan Republicans are now dismissed as RINOs, and even Reagan’s own words fall upon deaf ears.
As Ed Wexler points out, the goal today is not to make a deal but to score a win, and McCarthy is already facing condemnation and a potential loss of his speakership not over the details of the deal but over his having made a deal at all.
At one point this past week, Biden laughingly declined to endorse the deal because his approval would fuel the opposition. But, as Dave Granlund puts it, McCarthy is still going to take the blame for having compromised.
Compromise — the art of the deal, one might say — was a normal part of politics in the past, but, today, it’s a sign to the Q-crowd that “My Kevin” has morphed into Dark Brandon himself.
In the current government, rational objections and sensible debate are not to be tolerated. The House Freedom Caucus is not huge in size or necessarily average in its grasp of reality, but, as Walt Handelsman says, given the GOP’s scant 4-member majority in the House, it nonetheless represents a larger-than-life roadblock to the deal.
McCarthy may rally enough moderate Republicans to join with Chuck Schumer’s moderate Democrats to create a legislative majority, but first he’s got to get the measure out of the House Judiciary Committee, where the Freedom Caucus has strong representation (Update: He did.).
Then, when the dust has settled, he’ll have to face the fact that they are very likely to call for, and win, a vote of no confidence to strip him of his speakership.
It only takes one person to make that call, and we’ve seen how readily the GOP goes into lockstep when party loyalty is demanded of them.
Kevin Siers is clear in his appraisal of the Freedom Caucus and their hidebound refusal to, as Gingrich suggested, make the compromises necessary for long-term success:
But, as noted, those old Republicans were RINOs and not worth listening to.
Today’s leading lights in the GOP are smarter, and, as Mike Luckovich notes, confident that they are on top of an old man who is all but ready for a skilled nursing facility, though he still jogs regularly and can drink water one-handed.
Which, BTW, brings up my suggestion for solving both the age issue and the dilemma of a Trump/Biden rematch in 2024: A two-mile foot race between them. They can run, jog, walk or crawl, but, in the end, the loser drops out.
No golf carts allowed.
Alas, my dream race is not likely to happen, because, as Eric Allie (Counterpoint) notes, all the Republicans want Trump to be their party’s nominee, the MAGAts because they think he can win, and the reformers because they’re sure he cannot.
There are those in the party who, having seen what happened to Liz Cheney when she spoke up, are remaining silent, but others are saying that, while they don’t want Biden re-elected, they fear a second Trump administration more and are sure Biden beats Trump, while neither sees de Santis as viable.
However Allie feels about it, he’s got the situation pegged.
Meanwhile, Michael Ramirez (Creators) says, response to de Santis’s bungled Twitter roll-out stands in stark contrast to Trump’s ability to deflect, sidestep and ignore multiple flaws any one of which, for any other politician, would spell not just defeat but exile.
As Charlie Sykes said in a recent Bulwark podcast, anyone with Trump’s record, particularly since the E. Jeanne Carroll case, would be fired from the board of a corporation, couldn’t be hired to coach a sports team and would not be able to get a job as manager of a Burger King, but Trump somehow has seen his polls rise even as the jury found him at fault in the case and various felonies are pending.
But let’s not put the blame entirely on the MAGAts or on the rightwing media that has been feeding them all the news they’re supposed to hear but none that they shouldn’t.
Tom the Dancing Bug points out that even supposedly non-aligned media can fail in its mission of keeping people informed if it plays “on the one hand, but on the other” instead of making sensible distinctions in its coverage.
Of course, his scenario is absurdly exaggerated.
As of the moment.