Do folks understand that Right Wing mouthpieces such as Rush Limbaugh and Charles Krauthammer have called upon the GOP Leadership to let the economy "go to hell" because that would put their party in a stronger position to deal with a then weakened President Obama? Really? Sadly, yes! Some Republicans (not all), but some believe we need to "throw the baby out with the bath water" (and we all are the baby) in order to gain political strength over a recently reelected president! To hell with America, this is all about political power. And this leads me to the tried and true, worn out label, "Political Theater." But it could not get any more obscene could it? It could not possibly get much worse, right? Oh, yes it can and we are already heading down that path!
Case in point. Incredibly, the House of Representatives passed a Bill this week (along Party lines) calling for President Obama to provide "Specifics when the federal budget will be balanced and his policies for achieving balance" (source; AP). Now please think about what this GOP Bill suggests. It proposes that the President, not Congress, outline details in all budget proposals about deficit reduction until the budget is balanced. I know most folks would not think deep enough about this Bill to understand why such action is incredible, so allow me to explain.
According to Article I, Section 7 of the United States Constitution, "All bills for raising Revenue shall originate in the House of Representatives; but the Senate may propose or concur with Amendments as on other Bills." According to precedent as interpreted by the Supreme Court under its Article III authority, this means that only the HOUSE can initiate budget matters, and the Senate may then propose only amendments or agree to the House proposals. Nowhere in the Constitution does it provide the President with the responsibility to legislate budget matters, nowhere! In fact, some time ago, Congress attempted to give President Clinton the authority to do just that, propose budget items and then allow the Congress to approve or disapprove of the president's proposals. Such efforts were struck down by the Supreme Court as a violation of Separation of Powers and Congress may not abdicate its Article I authority (see Clinton v. City of New York, 1998). So what's up with this latest move by Congress to shirk its fiscal responsibilities?
Clearly, the GOP led Congress understands that sequestration is going to be very bad for the American Economy, and hence, all Americans. As part of their recent narratives, efforts are underway to paint the entire budget problem into the White House's corner. By doing so, they are following the lead of the Limbaugh and Krauthammer crowd. But Americans should be made aware of this cynical political power play! Nothing good can come from this game, including the false notion Americans will blame Obama for the economic perils of sequestration, leaving the GOP empowered. Americans are waking up to the realities of our current political discourse. No matter how damaged the Republicans are, they need to recognize that most of it has been self-inflicted, and another round of shenanigans that leads to economic calamity will surely fall proportionately on their shoulders. They will not be empowered as a result, but quite weakened instead. Political Theater? You bet, and I am willing to predict this current drama/comedy has a strong chance of becoming a real tragedy!