The debt deal, if it sticks, is a triumph for the bipartisan, status quo-clinging Washington establishment. Here is a prediction: Between now and January 2013, total actual spending cuts will be minimal. That will result from the following: (1) The $900 billion deficit reduction is almost all back-loaded to the years beyond 2012. (2) The select committee created by the budget deal will fail to pass a "second tranche" deficit-cut package of an additional $1.5 trillion. (3) The "trigger" will be pulled that will identify an additional $1.2 trillion. (4) The pulled trigger won't require any more deficit reductions to go into effect until 2013, when a new Congress and either a new president or a re-elected President Obama will be able to re-decide (or repeal) all these decisions. That president will also have to decide what to do with the expiring Bush tax cuts, which if extended would be scored to increase deficit by $3.5 trillion over ten years. (5) The debt ceiling will not need to be raised until 2013.
It is true that the Tea Party has "won" within the context of what constitutes a political win in Washington. But have they accomplished enough to change our future? No, by this deal, they have not.
To have a chance at actually changing our future, Washington would have to risk shocking and unpredictable change that might rock, temporarily, the financial prosperity of the nation. The establishment is not ready for that. To wit: Whether to risk radical change now or not is the measure of whether to support the deal.
Thus, Washington politicians and politically alert citizens across the country can be broadly divided into those who fear losing the status quo and those who fear losing the future. But it is less a matter of ideology (for both left and right) and more a matter of urgency.
It's not that pro status quo Republicans, for instance, don't worry about the state and debt getting ever bigger and more intrusive - they do - just as left wing Democratic establishment politicians worry about income disparities and insufficient social welfare programs.
What divides the GOP establishment types from the Tea Party people on the right is that the GOP establishment types don't feel sufficiently urgent about intrusive statism and unbearable debt to risk action now that would radically change the status quo governing process, policies and politics. Similarly, the Democratic establishment is not prepared to fight now for a radical change to the left.
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.