Americans to learn if Republicans differ from Democrats - East Valley Tribune: Columnists

Americans to learn if Republicans differ from Democrats

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Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are syndicated columnists and speakers. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism.

Posted: Monday, June 27, 2011 9:15 am | Updated: 7:51 am, Tue Jun 28, 2011.

Speculation is running rampant about why House Majority Leader Eric Cantor walked out of debt ceiling talks with Democrats. Most of the speculation is credited by pundits to insider maneuvering between Speaker John Boehner and Cantor.

The Washington Post reports debt deal maneuvering this way: "One analysis of the House GOP right now is that there are two players in the GOP who can cut a budget deal: Eric Cantor and John Boehner. ... One of them is going to have to do it. Which means one of them is going to lose his job. The optimistic take is that what we're seeing right now is a game of musical chairs over which one of them it'll be."

Our analysis is different, and the Washington media will never understand it. The GOP's inability to make deals is a direct result of the effectiveness of the tea party movement. Washington media always wants a deal between the forces for permanent government growth. For the first time in our lifetime, the forces in support of actually limiting government have gained power. Boehner and Cantor understand this new dynamic. The very future of the Republican Party depends on it.

Clearly, Boehner is frustrated by the new political realities. He wants to play golf with President Obama on the weekends and make nice with him during the week. Boehner has done his best to strong-arm Republicans into forfeiting their only budget leverage and vote to raise the debt ceiling. His problem is he doesn't have the votes, and a speaker that cannot pass legislation is doomed to be replaced.

Republican members of Congress have been flooded by messages from citizens to not raise the debt limit. They pour in daily by fax, FedEx, mail and telephone. Citizens intuitively understand that the solution to a debt problem is not more debt. The solution to the problem needs to come in the form of budget cuts. The tea party caucus, Michelle Bachmann and a movement called "Cut, Cap, Balance" are winning the battle inside the Republican Party. Tea party leaders are threatening to bolt the Republican cause if Boehner and Cantor don't produce an acceptable deal. The mainstream media, like usual is oblivious.

The rubber meets the road in a new poll by the Rasmussen organization. This poll shows that Republicans have everything to lose by disappointing the tea party. If the tea party begins to field candidates against Republicans, Republicans go down in flames. According to Rasmussen, three-way races will break down like this: Democrat 36 percent, Republicans 25 percent, and tea party 17 percent.

The tea party candidates will draw votes from the Republicans, and the Democrats in this scenario could pick up as many as 40 seats in the House of Representatives. Obama and the Democrats know this and that is why they won't even give Boehner and Cantor a fig leaf of cover on taxes. Biden and the Democrats in the debt limit talks therefore have been demanding a tax increase as the price they require to get even modest spending cuts.

So the real dynamic isn't an intramural squabble between Boehner and Canter. The real fight is for the soul of the Republican Party. Tea party activists gave Republicans the majority by supporting their candidates for Congress in 2010. If the Republican leaders raise the debt limit, the tea party likely will bolt in 2012. It only takes a few tea party voters to demolish Republican candidates on the margins, and tea party leaders have never felt comfortable in their alliance anyway.

We personally look at this as victory for the people. The Republican/Democrat big government duopoly has run the country unchallenged for too long. The tea party activists need to stick to their guns and bring the Republican Party to its knees. If Boehner, Canter and company cave and vote to increase the debt limit, they deserve to lose power.

Scare tactics by the establishment elite in DC and Wall Street must be ignored and sanity must return to government spending. Right now is the time in history to achieve this victory. Thank you, tea party.

Floyd and Mary Beth Brown are syndicated columnists and speakers. Floyd is also president of the Western Center for Journalism.

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