Tony Blankley

I don't know what new Washington conventional wisdom the network pretty parrots will be reciting Thursday morning after the president's remarks, but let me offer a broad assessment of the fast-emerging debt and deficit reduction fight strategies.

The GOP has bet the farm that the American public will more likely punish them for inaction than action. Good. The president seems to have come to the same conclusion regarding his chances with the 2012 electorate. So a fight over something that looks like real legislative action on the deficit crisis is going to be joined by the two parties.

But the nature of the Democratic Party's coalition for power must drive it to protect the excessive spending "at all cost." The Democratic Party coalition since FDR has been premised on the concept "tax and tax, spend and spend, elect and elect." The phrase was first reported in The New York Times by reporter Arthur Krock in 1938, allegedly as a quote from President Franklin D. Roosevelt's closest adviser Harry Hopkins. Hopkins denied saying it at the time, but it encapsulated the Democratic Party's successful method of getting elected by taxing the rich and upper-middle class, spending on the poorer public and thereby getting re-elected by that public.

If the Democratic Party gives up the vast spending that is driving the nation to fiscal catastrophe, they undermine their ability to win elections as a national political party. They will fight for years to prevent such a spending "drought."

But as it has suddenly become clear to the president and his strategists that they cannot be seen to be on the sidelines, they will have to offer what may seem like a plausible solution.

But even confiscating all the income of the rich cannot sufficiently fund the reduction in deficits. Nor can slight-of-hand waste, fraud and abuse savings in the entitlements cover the gap. Ultimately, the Democrats either will not in fact deal with the deficit or they will have to do so by very highly taxing the middle class (either way, they want to keep spending, but they will try to hide those alternative realities).

Thus the upcoming challenge for the Republicans will be less to persuade the country that entitlement reform is necessary (as the president will admit that) and more to: 1) unmask the true nature of the Democrats' purported proposals, 2) convince the country that a high-tax solution to the deficit threat will result in low economic growth and 3) convince the country the GOP low-tax solution will sustain the needed social safety net while inducing higher economic growth necessary to our future prosperity.

Politics is about to get much uglier -- but possibly more productive.

Tony Blankley

Tony Blankley, a conservative author and commentator who served as press secretary to Newt Gingrich during the 1990s, when Republicans took control of Congress, died Sunday January 8, 2012. He was 63.

Blankley, who had been suffering from stomach cancer, died Saturday night at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, his wife, Lynda Davis, said Sunday.

In his long career as a political operative and pundit, his most visible role was as a spokesman for and adviser to Gingrich from 1990 to 1997. Gingrich became House Speaker when Republicans took control of the U.S. House of Representatives following the 1994 midterm elections.

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