No, Senator Grassley. Just Say No

Hugh Hewitt

2/12/2010 12:01:00 AM - Hugh Hewitt

Just when you think beltway Republicans have finally begun to understand the depth and breadth of the voter revolt against the size and reach of the federal government, and thus against the President Obama-led Congressional Democrats, along comes Senator Grassley to throw Democrats a life-line.

Grassley fought a brave and good fight against Obamacare throughout 2009, correctly assessing the offers from his Democratic colleague on the Finance Committee, Max Baucus, as both deeply undesirable on their merits and certain to be amended to the worse by House as well.

But the Beltway pressures of facing down cartloads of lobbyists and scores of MSMers chanting "bipartisanship" have taken their toll on the Iowa Republican. When on Thursday Grassley stepped forward with his long-time committee colleague Baucus to propose an $85 billion dollar "jobs bill," energized activists across the country snapped back their heads in wonder. "What part of 'Stop!' doesn't he understand?" they asked in near-unison.

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Since the licking in Massachusetts, the protect-Obama media has been pushing out the White House' hysterical "obstructionist" theme, as though super-majorities in both the House and Senate throughout 2009 hadn't given the president all the numbers he needed to pass whatever he wanted. Now it looks like increasing numbers of Democrats are refusing to sign their own political death warrants, and so the White House is hunting for someone to blame, and perhaps from which some leverage could be gained to push through some remnant of an Obamacare that remains deeply unpopular in the country abroad.

Cut off from the heartland, some of the GOP in Washington are desperate to be back on schmoozing terms with the Capitol's media and their across-the-aisle colleagues. They would like to get past the unpleasantness of the past year and do something, anything to make those cable commentators stop calling them the party of no. As a result they are beginning to show signs of folding and in so doing, of forfeiting the message they have worked so hard to deliver for the past year: The president, Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid are leading the country over a left-wing cliff.

All Republicans have to do is clearly and repeatedly --without rancor and without over-the-top rhetoric-- explain why Obamacare is unacceptable, beginning with the $500 billion in cuts to Medicare that don't go towards saving the system, the parade of special deals, and the gigantic giveaway to organized labor. They have to make arguments, in other words, about why the president's prescriptions are much worse than the ills plaguing the system.

So too with the economy and the last stimulus-that-wasn't. They must argue, even against what looks like huge odds in the MSM, against allowing the Bush tax cuts to expire, against adding crippling new assessments anywhere in the fragile economy, and for fiscal restraint. Again and again every Republican from Boehner and McConnell on down to the most junior House member must tell everyone who will listen that the deficit was a mere $161 billion in 2007 and looms at more than $1,600 billion next year! They must discuss the threats posed by so much devalued currency.

What they cannot do is urge that even more money be printed when that money is simply a layering on of D.C.-directed tax breaks to winners and losers. The absurd idea that jobs will be created by some combination of minor payroll tax relief and a $1000 tax credit would be hilarious if it wasn't so stunningly empty of merit. It is a gesture --a vastly expensive "We Incumbents care!" banner paid for with money the federal government doesn't have. Just shipping the money out to the states makes more sense than that, but there a dozen ways to better spend time and budget than on such relief or the "jobs bill.". How about the lightning-permitting-and-funding of a score of new nuclear plants? The president called for that in the State of the Union. Surely that would scratch their bipartisan itch.

Better yet, why not fix the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008 which has devastated thousands of small to large businesses? Why not order water deliveries resumed to California's Central Valley where as many as 40,000 agricultural jobs have been loss because of alleged threats to the Delta Smelt?

Why not practice repentance of mistakes made rather than re-enacting the blind shoveling of vast quantities of dollars at the stubborn unemployment numbers?

The Baucus-Grassley threatens to undo all the great work of millions of Americans to educate their neighbors and co-workers on the vast damage done to the economy by year one of the Obama agenda. Senators McConnell and Kyl need to take their old friend aside and explain that this is not the time for deal-cutting, but for principled opposition to any more upticks in the size and cost of government.

The GOP needs to stiffen its back and stand on its core principles. The MSM won't like it, but the majority of Americans will applaud long and hard.