In August 2011, just like today, there was no shortage of political propaganda.
Except back then, both the president and Speaker John Boehner were praising their debt ceiling increase deal. President Obama, claiming it was a positive step forward and Boehner saying he got 98 percent of what he wanted.
Today, they are each trying to convince the American people the other is to blame for any negative effects of sequestration. And once again, the Republican leadership is holding hands with Democrats to create another faux crisis. At some point, we have to admit we were wrong and stand up for the principles that our party is supposed to represent.
Back in August 2011, many of us were ready to take a stand and bring these fiscal problems to a head. Many were prepared to fight over principles and to make the type of tough votes that will inevitably be required. We wanted to stop the crisis merry-go-round that results from kicking the can down the road. The American people had sent us there for that very reason — they understood we have a problem in Washington. They expected a principled stand and would have justly rewarded us for making it.
Instead, the Republican leadership took the path of least resistance, claiming that doing so would bring about a huge electoral success. Wrong.
If Boehner wants a deal, he should deal with the truth. The truth is that $85 billion in cuts is not catastrophic. If there is a catastrophe, it is a lack of courage to step out, lead and deal with making tough votes on the type of reductions that are actually necessary, instead of senseless across the board cuts.
No one will argue that you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs. At some point, the fiscal irresponsibility of both parties has to stop, and it won’t be painless. The truth is that this president is more concerned about union bailouts, failed stimulus, green energy boondoggles, wasteful entitlement expansion and preserving a massively flawed health care law, than he is with preserving our national security and protecting the middle class.
The truth is that the federal government is going to spend $15 billion more this year than last. That is not a cut, there are no real cuts. It’s like bragging about your new diet, while gaining weight.
It is time to go on the offense for the sake of the county. It’s time to make the president defend his failed record of stimulus spending on energy policies that are robbing from the middle class and a health care scheme that is creating the exact opposite of its promised results.
Force him to choose Solyndra, Fisker, etc., over the protecting of Americans. Force him to choose discredited climate change theories over affordable energy. Force him to choose ObamaCare over preserving the private health care system. It is his tax policy that has reduced middle class take home pay; energy policies that are driving up the cost of food and gasoline; and a health care law that is increasing our insurance premiums. Yet, the best you get out of the speaker is blaming the president for something that he and many Republicans voted for and praised.
Congressional Republicans will not be heard until the American people are forced to focus on the debate. Folding the cards, going along and trying to blame someone else for what you helped to create is not getting it done. The 2012 elections proved that. Standing up for your principles, articulating common sense, and bringing your case to the people is a winning formula and 2010 proved that.
Mark your calendars for March 27 — the date of the next Washington-establishment-created crisis — the day the last continuing resolution runs out. Will the Republican leadership have the stomach for a principled stand? Stay tuned.
Jeff Landry is the former congressman for the 3rd Congressional District.