Republicans didn’t win anything on paper, but they did get something no one is talking about
As predicted by just about everyone but themselves, Tea Party Republicans did not manage to de-fund Obamacare. They couldn’t get cuts to social programs or force the president to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, Republicans were effortlessly defeated and walked away empty handed… on paper.
There is however, one important thing Republicans gained from the shutdown and debt ceiling crisis that progressives and the media has so far ignored. Republicans or Tea Baggers to be more specific have managed to change the national discourse back to debt reduction again.
During the first manufactured debt ceiling crisis in 2011 that was all you heard about, it was all the media talked about. We have to reduce the deficit, we have to reduce the debt or Armageddon will be upon us! In a country still hurting from the great recession there was little talk of growth.
House Speaker John Boehner said following the first debt crises that he got 95% of what he wanted. It eventually led to the useless supercommittee and the subsequent job killing sequestration. Now with the sequester still in place and the government reopened, the two parties are set to negotiate further deficit reduction and probable “entitlement” reforms. Once again there is little talk of economic growth. It’s as if Democrats are still playing into Republican hands.
The last time Republicans took the United States hostage, debt reduction was only the talk of the country for a short period (even if it continued in Washington). A few months after the first crisis was resolved, a movement came about on Wall Street that spread throughout the country and it changed what we were thinking.
The Occupy Wall Street and 99% movement was extremely successful at changing the national dialog. Instead of debt reduction and entitlement reform, we finally started to acknowledge the income gap, the low tax rates on the wealthy and the business criminals who run the country. I would have to say these important topics stayed in our minds up until the 2012 election. It helped to get Obama re-elected.
Now, following the last election cycle and the recent hostage taking, we seem to be right back to where we started before the Occupy Movement came about. We are less than a week past the reopening of the government and Democrats are already talking about cuts to Social Security. Yes, Democrats.
President Obama did right by standing up to his rivals in the face of disaster without giving an inch, but like some of those Tea Baggers said, “the fight is just beginning”. In the next few months, Obama is going to have to stand taller than he ever has, especially without help from the Occupy Movement to change back the conversation once again. We have to do that ourselves.
Republicans can claim their whole motivation was to de-fund Obamacare, they made no secret of it, but every politician has a real agenda and it looks like the Republicans are on their way to fulfilling theirs in secret. When you have goals to accomplish, you speak loudly about the ones you care little so the bigger ones can be achieved without notice. Politics 101.