Hendricks County Flyer, Avon, IN

Commentary

November 30, 2012

Hating Grover

(Continued)

These aren't alien beliefs foisted on the Republican Party, but represent GOP orthodoxy. Nonetheless, everyone acts as if Grover is the instrument of the party's Babylonian captivity. If only the dastardly Norquist didn't make Republicans say they won't raise taxes - and put it in writing - the party could fulfill its role in the "good governing" of Washington, namely joining Democrats to raise taxes.

The proof of the supposed perversity of Grover's influence is the widely cited hypothetical example of a Democratic offer to cut $10 in spending for every $1 in new tax dollars. In one presidential-primary debate, every Republican candidate indicated that he or she would oppose such a deal. Of course, it's all academic because such a deal will never, ever be on offer. Hypotheticals work both ways, or they should. What would Democrats be willing to accept in exchange for signing off on a premium support plan for Medicare? Nothing.

The press isn't scandalized by this particular intransigence. It isn't a favorite topic on the Sunday shows whether the influence of AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka, who opposes all meaningful spending cuts, will be broken in the Democratic Party. No one is outraged that the left is mustering a lobbying campaign to keep President Barack Obama from giving anything on entitlements in the talks over the fiscal cliff.

But whenever a Republican says he won't abide by Grover's pledge, the media act like a choir of angels celebrating another saved soul. So far, it's only the usual suspects in the party, although House Speaker John Boehner has signaled a willingness to raise more revenue if the president will cut entitlement spending. What makes this time different than prior budget showdowns is that Republicans can remain technically compliant with the pledge by doing nothing, and taxes would still go up on everyone automatically at the end of the year.

A deal, then, could make sense, depending on the parameters. As the cliff approaches, all the pressure within Washington and within the media will be for Republicans simply to cave to the president. Grover will make it as painful as possible for them to do it, and should wear the resulting elite obloquy as a badge of honor.

(c) 2012 by King Features Syndicate

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