While progressives everywhere are starting a new day filled with joy at the results of last night's election...Obama re-elected, progressive initiatives passed, strong Senate results, some incremental growth in House seats....it is already becoming clear that the GOP, despite its losses, is not about to budge. We are very likely going to see more of the intransigence and hardball which has marked all of Obama's first term, and with it, insistence that the economic approach the voters rejected...tax cuts for the rich and massive cuts in spending, are the only thing the GOP will accept.
More below the orange thingamajiggy...
For starters, we have John Boehner, likely holding his post as House Majority Leader unless unseated by some unforseen coup, telling the press this morning that because the GOP held on to control of the House, it is a mandate for no new tax increases. (Much as Bush won a second term and insisted it gave him the mandate for a Surge in Iraq.)
Next, we have Pat Toomey, R. Senator from PA a founder of the Club for Growth, and a hard right fiscal conservative, appearing at noontime on CNBC.
Of course the CNBC hosts, who have been some of the biggest backers of Bowles Simpson and sequestration, asked Toomey whether - if Democrats would agree to the spending cuts called for - he and Republicans would agree to some additional revenues through tax increases to help produce a solution.
"Well," he said (and I am paraphrasing here), "I believe that we should not increase taxes at all. Instead we should cut wasteful spending, although I think the cuts proposed for the Defense Department under sequestration are too big and will need to be reduced. But, I think the rates for taxes should remain the same, and maybe we need to do some work on broadening the base (in other words eliminating some loopholes) to make it revenue neutral."
Does this sound familiar? It should. It is essentially the Romney Ryan budget plan...the plan the American electorate just rejected. But the GOP never gives up and no amount of evidence, whether it is a decade of trying this scheme and a resulting fiscal disaster, or the September 14, 2012 Congressional Research Service study which found that the plan doesn't work any way you slice it (a study the Republicans immediately and unsuccessfully tried to remove from public scrutiny and claimed was biased and flawed) will deter them from insisting that the ONLY answer is no tax increases, tax cuts for the wealthy and of course, economic euphoria.
So, let us all enjoy our brief moment of joy here, but it already seems clear that the GOP is going to dig in its heels in both houses. Under such circumstances, I would argue that the Obama administration is going to need to spotlight target the obstructionists and drive for filibuster reform in the Senate and do all it can to make it clear to the public that the Republicans lost but are trying again to act like they won.
Then in 2014, Obama needs to do what he should have a done a lot more of this election.....go out on the campaign trail and tell voters how much he needs House and Senate members ready to work together and compromise to help resolve our fiscal problems.