Sunday, November 11, 2012

Will GOP Listen?

"Don't scream and yell if one person says 'You know what? It won't kill the country if we raise taxes a little bit on millionaires.' It really won't, I don't think.
I don't really understand why Republicans don't take Obama's offer to freeze taxes for everyone below $250,000, make it $500,000, make it $1 million,
Really? The Republican Party is going to fall on its sword to defend a bunch of millionaires, half of whom voted Democratic and half of whom live in Hollywood?"

So the question is will GOP listen to this sanity. Reading reports like this, you have GOP Rep. Fleming from Louisiana who are simply brothers of their fallen friend Allen West - never yield to any sensible policy.

It is hard to read how Speaker Boehner will be able to corral his recalcitrant caucus. It does not seem any easy than what it has been for last two years. House Republicans can think that let presidential candidates bother about their chances in 2016 and beyond and it is the headache of Senate Republicans to see how more senators get elected. So long as House districts are gerrymandered, GOP majority is relatively safe till 2022, till next census. Why bother then? Basically Americans are not in a position to make GOP pay for its intransigence in House and House Republicans have least incentive to do anything meaningful even if it means Economy goes into doldrums and most Americans suffer more.

It will boil down whether Speaker Boehner wants any 'glory' in solving America's problems or he wants to be simply a 'care taking House Speaker' who only counts votes in his caucus rather than leading it to a more meaningful policy. It also depends whether members of GOP House Leadership are looking for any future roles. If Paul Ryan wants to be a serious contender in 2016, having a bipartisan agreement under his belt is not a bad thing. But if Ryan thinks political advantage is more in keeping the ideological purity (the reason how broken Republican Primary System influences national politics badly and effectively contributed to Romney's defeat); then we are in for more confrontation. Same goes for Eric Cantor - now that his ploy of making White House subordinate to Israeli PM Netanyahu gone wrong; will he see some benefits in moderation?

For President Obama, it can be argued that premium in exposing his 'steeled backbone' by remaining unyielding is very high. White House can argue that impeding downdraft in Economy due to unresolved Fiscal Cliff; what is new in that? Isn't Obama Administration used to carry this burden? That is what they did all of the first term. A scenario can be thought where America crosses the Fiscal Cliff without an agreement, taxes across the board increase, Economy gets impacted but not so much as Global Economy holds up and as a result America's problem of Deficit diminishes dramatically due to more revenue (Paul Kgruman scenario). For all these reasons, White House may find it worthwhile to take 'the bull by horn' and plough through the impeding Economic hardship. 

All this means, despite all the happy talk on Sunday Talk Shows, we Americans may be in for a long and nasty fight.

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