All Eyes On Washington: Will They Raise The Debt CeilingBy Pam Foster on February 9, 2011, 9:16 am
“Unfortunately, if the House Republicans do not hear from the American people in strength, they will vote for business-as-usual deficit spending for the next two years and surrender the power they have to force fiscal responsibility on Barack Obama and the Democrats in the Senate,” says Farah. “House Speaker John Boehner says he wants to use the debt limit to wrangle concessions out of the Democrats, but when he signals, as he did last weekend, that Congress must raise the debt limit to keep the government solvent, he has already waved the white flag of surrender on the most important vote to be cast in Congress over the next two years.”
Boehner Needs Strength
There are no simple political answers for Boehner either. He has to win big spending cuts if he is to retain the confidence of his conference and the allegiance of the voters who entrusted him with the Speaker’s gavel. He must be fiscally aggressive without appearing reckless, while being practical and level headed without seeming to sell out to Beltway assumptions that voters clearly rejected. Finally, he must lead his conference’s rank-and-file, not follow them, and ensure that they do not walk away from him.
Tea Partiers, faced with the harsh realities of governing, will then be forced to look in the mirror and do some self-appraisal. What do they do if the man or woman they helped to elect with their blood, sweat, tears, and dollars decides that this is not the time or place to draw a line in the sand? For the most part, individual Tea Party groups throughout the country have avoided divisions within their own ranks simply because they are all built around the same three simple principles: fiscal sanity, free markets, and a constitutionally limited government. By keeping it so basic, their tent was large enough to hold conservatives of all stripes.
The poll has other bad news for Obama, too. Only 40% believe that the stimulus package in 2009 helped the economy; 54% believe it either hurt (30%) or did nothing at all (24%). Those same numbers hold up for independents (39/56), but among Republicans, they go to 13/80. Obama appears to have lost the philosophical argument on whether stimulus spending creates jobs, which comes in at 36/48 among all voters and 24/61 among independents. Obama’s call for greater “investment” from his SOTU speech has landed with a thud among voters.