Pamela Powers Hannley, a progressive voice for Arizona
No compromise! No negotiation! No discussion! No public input!
These are the rallying cries of the Tea Party in the Arizona Legislature and in the US Congress. Here is a thoughtful editorial on rigidity from the New York Times.
House Republicans have already won so much in this year’s federal budget standoff that they could easily declare victory and put an end to the maddening and dysfunctional cycle. Previous Congresses would have noticed that millions of people are still struggling in an economic downturn and tried to help, but Republicans have succeeded in shutting off that conversation.
They have won the philosophical war, compelling Democrats to agree to tens of billions in spending cuts. Yet that does not seem to be enough for the Republicans who now control the federal steering wheel.
With a hard deadline looming, talks to prevent a government shutdown have been stymied for a week because Tea Party members of the House have demanded everything: not just some of their cuts but almost all of them, and not just a reduction in spending but a reduction only in the programs they don’t like.Many are insisting Democrats also agree to nonbudgetary riders, like ending the financing of Planned Parenthood or health care reform.
They simply will not accede to anything that looks like a compromise with President Obama. Caught in this position, Speaker John Boehner knows the public is likely to blame Republicans for the pain of a shutdown, once it sees that the Democrats offered difficult compromises that his caucus rejected. That is the price he pays for riding to power on the backs of people who don’t understand that government cannot be built out of ideological rigidity.
If Mr. Boehner cannot persuade his members that the public does not want a government shutdown and will blame them, then much of the government will close its doors on April 8, when the current stopgap funding measure runs out. [Emphasis added.]
For the rest of the editorial, click on this link.